Origin of nasal polyps: an endoscopic autopsy study.

Research paper by Per L PL Larsen, Mirko M Tos

Indexed on: 06 Apr '04Published on: 06 Apr '04Published in: The Laryngoscope


To further elucidate the natural history, etiology, and pathogenesis of nasal polyps, the present study of their anatomical site of origin was undertaken. The possibility for preferred areas or certain patterns in the places of origin was also considered.Autopsies were examined consecutively.Endoscopic examination of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, including endoscopic sinus surgery, was performed in 69 autopsies. The place of origin and attachment of each polyp was meticulously described. Polyps were photographically documented in situ and removed, together with the corresponding mucosa, for later histological examination. The cause of death of the patients was either cardiopulmonary disease or malignant diseases. Median age was 73 years (age range, 47-94 y).Nasal polyps were found in 22 of the 69 autopsies, corresponding to a frequency of 32%. In all, 54 polyps were found. Thirty-nine polyps were small (length, 2-5 mm), 10 were medium-sized, and 5 were large. No complaints of symptoms from the nasal polyps were registered. Most of the polyps (40 of 54 [74%]) originated in relation to sinus outlets. Most of these (34 of 54 [63%]) were found in the middle or superior meatus (13 of 54 [24%]).The results seemed to indicate that the frequency of nasal polyps is high and that most of the polyps originate from the mucosa of the ostia, clefts, and recesses in the ostiomeatal complex where the initial stage of sinonasal polyposis seems to take place. Continuous postmortem studies in autopsy materials and systematic endoscopic examinations for "silent," asymptomatic nasal polyps in various groups of patients will lead to a better understanding of the natural history of nasal polyps.