Simulating the nasal cycle with computational fluid dynamics.
OBJECTIVES: (1) To develop a method to account for the confounding effect of the nasal cycle when comparing preoperative and postoperative objective measures of nasal patency. (2) To illustrate this method by reporting objective measures derived from computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models spanning the full range of mucosal engorgement associated with the nasal cycle in 2 subjects. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective. SETTING: Academic tertiary medical center. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A cohort of 24 patients with nasal airway obstruction was reviewed to select the 2 patients with the greatest reciprocal change in mucosal engorgement between preoperative and postoperative computed tomography (CT) scans. Three-dimensional anatomic models were created based on the preoperative and postoperative CT scans. Nasal cycling models were also created by gradually changing the thickness of the inferior turbinate, middle turbinate, and septal swell body. Moreover, CFD was used to simulate airflow and to calculate nasal resistance and the average heat flux. RESULTS: Before accounting for the nasal cycle, patient A appeared to have a paradoxical worsening nasal obstruction in the right cavity postoperatively. After accounting for the nasal cycle, patient A had small improvements in objective measures postoperatively. The magnitude of the surgical effect also differed in patient B after accounting for the nasal cycle. CONCLUSION: By simulating the nasal cycle and comparing models in similar congestive states, surgical changes in nasal patency can be distinguished from physiological changes associated with the nasal cycle. This ability can lead to more precise comparisons of preoperative and postoperative objective measures and potentially more accurate virtual surgery planning.
Patel, RG; Garcia, GJM; Frank-Ito, DO; Kimbell, JS; Rhee, JS
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