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Comparison of the thermal effects of Coblation and Radiofrequency waves in a porcine turbinate model


BACKGROUND. Radiofrequency reduction and Coblation are widely used procedures for the treatment of functionally enlarged turbinates with an appropriate outcome. Bleeding and crusting are postoperative complications for Coblation. Thermographic measurements and histological analyses were used to elucidate the causes.

MATERIAL AND METHODS. In a porcine turbinate model, double-needle electrodes of different lengths were tested using a 4MHz radiofrequency current with either automatic energy limitation or a predetermined energy amount of 200 J. Coblation, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, was carried out with a Reflex Ultra 45 wand. The generated temperature was measured with thermo-probes at the tip of the electrodes. The mucosa was subsequently investigated histologically.

RESULTS. Without preoperative saline injection, all procedures generate temperatures < 100° C. After saline injection, excessive temperatures are reached by Coblation after the release of plasma in a closed system. The follow-up is a severe deterioration of the microscopic structures of the mucosa. The low-temperature advantages of Coblation are only effective if the mandatory saline solution rinses the surface. The Radiofrequency applications deliver more predictable results.

CONCLUSION. For the treatment of the functional enlargement of the turbinates, Radiofrequency current with proofed settings should be chosen.