Middle meatal packing in endoscopic sinus surgery—to pack or not to pack?—a decision-analysis model

Sagit Stern-Shavit*, Yuval Nachalon, Moshe Leshno, Ethan Soudry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Packing of the middle meatus and ethmoid cavities is a common practice in endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS), but its necessity recently has been challenged. The aim of this study was to formulate a decision-analysis model to determine the need for packing in ESS and identify variables affecting the decision. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted for all randomized control trials comparing packing to no packing in ESS, and a decision-analysis model was generated. Probabilities and utilities were derived from the literature. Sensitivity analysis was used to determine which variables most affected the model. Results: No packing was associated with better expected utilities than packing. On sensitivity analysis, packing was preferred when the disutility of no packing outweighed the disutility of packing, and when the probability for synechiae was greater than 35% without packing or lower than 2% with packing. When the component of packing removal was subtracted from the overall disutility simulating absorbable packing, the results favored packing. Conclusion: Our decision-analysis model indicates that middle meatal packing is not advantageous for patients undergoing ESS. Absorbable packing materials have a less adverse effect on quality of life than nonabsorbable materials. Level of Evidence: 1a. Laryngoscope, 127:1506–1512, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1506-1512
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Endoscopic sinus surgery
  • absorbable packing
  • bleeding
  • decision-analysis model
  • dressing
  • middle meatus
  • packing
  • quality of life
  • spacer
  • synechiae


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