The effects of packing with ribbon gauze and neuropatties on the nasal mucosa was assessed using sheep as an animal model. Fourteen sheep either underwent ribbon gauze or neuropattie nasal packing. Trauma to nasal mucosa caused by ribbon gauze and neuropatties was compared to mucosa on the lateral aspect of the middle turbinate which was not in contact with any packing. This tissue was used as a control. Ribbon gauze packing resulted in significant loss of 68 per cent of the ciliated surface of the mucosa when compared with the control group with a 15 per cent loss of ciliated surface (p < 0.005). Neuropattie packing also resulted in significant loss of 50 per cent of the ciliated surface of the mucosa when compared with the control group (p < 0.005). There was no significant difference in loss of ciliated mucosa in the specimens packed with ribbon gauze or neuropatties (p = 0.25).
Nasal packing results in a significant mucosal injury with loss of cilia. This may influence the mucociliary clearance of the nose in the post-operative healing phase. Pre-operative nasal packing should be used circumspectly and if possible avoided.
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