Lack of correlation between patient reported location and severity of facial pain and radiographic burden of disease in chronic rhinosinusitis

Jeffrey J. Falco, Andrew J. Thomas, Xuan Quin, Shaelene Ashby, Jess C. Mace, Adam S. Deconde, Timothy Smith, Jeremiah A. Alt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Background: Facial pain is a cardinal symptom of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) with significant impacts on patient treatment selection, quality of life, and outcomes. The association between facial pain and CRS disease severity has not been systematically evaluated with validated, facial pain-specific questionnaires. Our objective was to measure pain location, severity, and interference in patients with CRS, and correlate these to the location and severity of radiographic evidence of disease. Methods: Patients with CRS were enrolled into a prospective, cross-sectional study. Patients completed the Brief Pain Inventory Short Form, which is a validated and widely used tool that measures pain location, severity, and interference with daily activities of living. The Lund-Mackay (L-M) computed tomography (CT) scoring system was used to operationalize the radiographic location and severity of inflammation. Facial pain location, severity, and interference scores were correlated to paranasal sinus opacification scores. Results: Consecutive patients with CRS with nasal polyps (CRSwNP; n = 37) and CRS without nasal polyps (CRSsNP; n = 46) were enrolled. No significant relationship was found between the location and severity of reported facial pain and radiographic findings of disease for patients with either CRSwNP or CRSsNP. There was no difference in pain location between patients with and without radiographic disease in a given sinus. Conclusion: Facial pain in CRS is not predicted by the radiographic extent of disease. The location and severity of facial pain reported by the patient is not a reliable marker of the anatomic location and severity of sinonasal inflammation. Pain location should not necessarily be relied upon for guiding targeted therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
StateAccepted/In press - 2016



  • Chronic disease
  • Facial pain
  • Facial pressure
  • Quality of life
  • Sinusitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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