After medical therapy has failed, sinus surgery is the primary treatment for chronic sinusitis. The goal of sinus surgery is to restore the natural sinus drainage pathways, remove inflamed and diseased tissue, preserve the natural sinus mucosa, and create openings for the trans-nasal irrigation of topical medical therapies. Sinus surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, meaning the patient is completely asleep during the entire operation. Some sinus surgeries may take an hour or less to complete while others can take much longer.
Advancements in Sinus Surgery
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery, or FESS, requires the use of a telescope or endoscope to access the sinus cavities. FESS revolutionized sinus surgery by allowing the surgeon to access the sinuses through the nose, eliminating the need for facial incisions and other disfiguring surgical approaches. Today trans-nasal endoscopy can be used to treat infections, inflammatory conditions, tumors, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, and other skull base and intracranial problems.
What Happens After Sinus Surgery?
Following sinus surgery most patients go home the same day. The recovery period usually lasts one week and consists of resting at home, keeping the head elevated, and avoiding strenuous activities. Patients can immediately resume a normal diet. Post-operative pain is often not significant and can often be managed by ibuprofen or hydrocodone. There may be slight oozing of blood from the nose, but bleeding should not be significant.
Patients usually have three post-operative visits. During these visits the sinuses are cleaned, or debrided. Each debridement is performed in a clinic setting without use of anesthesia or sedating drugs. Debridement is an essential part of the healing process, it helps to reduce the formation of scar tissue, inflammation, and infection.
Patients typically begin to experience the benefit of sinus surgery 1 week following the operation. Continued healing will go on for another 3-6 months. During this time patients may be advised to perform daily nasal irrigations with saline or other medications to facilitate the healing process.
Sinus surgery has significantly progressed over the past decade due to advancements in the field of Rhinology. Rhinology is an Otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) subspecialty that focuses exclusively on disorders of the nose sinuses and skull base. Endoscopy and other minimally invasive techniques afford easy access to hard to reach anatomy. The field of Rhinology has contributed greatly to the advancement of sinus surgery. These advancements have improved the patient’s post-operative experience by reducing pain, bleeding, and general discomfort. Today patients can expect a relatively quick and painless recovery from sinus surgery.
If you suffer with chronic sinus problems, sinus surgery may be able to significantly improve your quality of life. If you want to know if you will benefit from sinus surgery the Rhinologists at Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana, Drs. Henry P. Barham and Christian A. Hall, can help.