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Sinus Surgery Brings Relief to Many


3 Star

Sinus Surgery Brings Relief to Many

Our Review Summary

This story reports on a study that found clinically significant improvements in the quality of life of patients who had endoscopic sinus surgery for chronic sinusitis. Although the story did a nice job of explaining the methods of the study, it would have been helpful for the reader to have more information on what improvements in quality of life really mean for someone with chronic sinusitis. This story could also have been improved by mentioning potential harms and costs of surgery.   


Why This Matters

Declaring that a treatment can result in a clinically significant improvement on your quality of life sounds good, but more clarity about what these improvements really mean (e.g., better ability to breathe through the nose, improves sleep, etc.) would make the results more meaningful.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory
This story does not discuss cost of surgery or medical therapy used to treat chronic rhinosinusitis.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory
The story states that after an average of a year and a half, 76% of patients had a clinical significant improvement in their quality of life. In order for these results to be more meaningful, the story should have provided more information about what “clinically significant improvement” really means in peoples’ lives and how quality of life was measured.   

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

Although the study authors did not report adverse effects of endoscopic sinus surgery, the news story should have mentioned that complications can include bleeding, bruising, swelling and infection.  Rare cases of vision problems, spinal fluid leaks and meningitis have also been reported.  If you don’t report harms and you don’t report costs, you’re not telling a very complete story.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

We think the story should have included even a brief line about how observational studies, like this one, are not considered the highest quality of evidence. That, and the failure to define what "clinically significant improvement" really means results in an unsatisfactory score on this criterion.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


This story provides data showing how many people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with chronic rhinosinusitis.   


Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

This story includes commentary from a sinus and allergy specialist not affiliated with the study. 

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


Although the story mentions that medical therapy can be an effective alternative to surgery, more information on the specific medications, including nasal steroids, oral decongestants and antihistamines, would have helped readers.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story explains that endoscopic sinus surgery has been used for a long time and the reader can infer that it’s been in widespread use.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

The story indicates that endoscopic sinus surgery has been available since the mid-1980s.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure of the extent to which the story relied on a news release, so we grade this criterion Not Applicable.

Total Score: 5 of 9 Satisfactory


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