Playing baseball

Questions and Answers – Getting Sinus Surgery

Sinus Infections

When is sinus surgery necessary?

Most patients with chronic sinus infections don’t need surgery. Medical treatment and lifestyle changes usually help improve your condition or at least control your symptoms. But if they don’t, surgery may be the best alternative.

Having surgery is a big decision. Many things have to be considered first. For example: How severe are your symptoms? What does your CT scan show? How is your general health?

You and your doctor will decide if sinus surgery is the best choice for you. If you’re an older adult, or if you have a child that may need sinus surgery, special considerations need to be taken. It’s important to work with your doctor to get the treatment that’s best for you or your family member.

Back to top

What happens during sinus surgery?

Today, functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is the most common surgical method to treat chronic sinus infections. In a FESS procedure, the surgeon uses a magnifying endoscope through the nostrils to see and remove affected tissue and bone.

The three sinus procedures discussed here (as well as others) may be performed using FESS. Which one your ENT doctor uses depends on what’s causing your problem. In general, the goal of sinus surgery is to flush out infected material, open up blocked passages, and keep enough healthy tissue intact so that your nose and sinuses can function normally.

Once the procedure is finished, nasal packing may be placed in your nose if required to support the newly opened sinus passages and to absorb excess fluid while your tissues heal. If your doctor uses traditional nasal packing, it will have to be removed by your doctor after surgery, which can be painful. Medtronic offers dissolvable nasal packing that is gradually resorbed by the body and doesn’t require removal.

Back to top

What happens right after surgery?

After the operation, you’ll be brought out of anaesthetic and taken to a recovery room. There, you’ll be observed for a while to make sure there are no complications. your doctor will tell you how long you need to stay in the hospital for. Make sure you have a friend or family member who can drive you home.

Before you leave, you’ll get instructions about what should happen while your nose and sinuses heal, when to get immediate attention, and when to schedule follow-up appointments. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medicine for a few days.

Back to top

How long is recovery time?

Your recovery time depends on your overall health and the kind of sinus surgery you have (ethmoidectomy, maxillary antrostomy, or powered septoplasty with turbinoplasty). Usually, you should plan to be away from work or school for at least several days after surgery. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how best to care for yourself to help speed recovery.

Back to top

How much pain is there with this surgery?

Every patient tolerates pain differently. Most patients manage sinus surgery pain with oral pain pills. Your doctor can tell you what to expect, based on the type of surgery you have.

Facial swelling or bruising is rare, but the inside of your nose will be swollen and sore for a while. This may make breathing through your nose difficult for about two weeks.


Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.