Therapeutic options in olfactory dysfunction (OD) are limited. Numerous studies have shown impact of OD on quality of life. Lately, various studies support benefits of olfactory training, but therapyrefractory cases leave doctors and patients locked in a stalemate. An olfactory implant (OI), in analogy to the widely successful cochlear implant, still seems far away from realization. The present study sought to evaluate the demand of OI in patients with OD.
Sixtyone patients (28 females and 33 males, mean age/standard deviation 54.9/17.6 years) with OD were recruited. We performed olfactory testing for threshold (T), discrimination (D), and identification (I) using Sniffin' Sticks; summed scores (TDI) allowed us to determine normosmia, hyposmia, and anosmia. We applied questionnaires on the importance of smell (IOS), on olfactory disorders (QOD) and on the interest/willingness for OI, considering the need for skull base/head surgery.
Twentyone patients (34.4%) stated that OI could be a future treatment option for them. This decision significantly correlated with TDI, I, complaintrelated questions of the QOD, and IOS (P<.05).
With approximately onethird of patients considering OI as a therapy option, this study seems to indicate a demand for OI. In selected patients, with a high degree of complaints, low olfactory test scores, and maybe an additional occupational need for olfactory function, OI might be an option if future developments warrant safety of OI procedures.