Sinus Surgery

The answers below should only serve as a guidance. A doctor should be consulted for personalised medical advice. Always seek the advice of a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions.

When is sinus surgery necessary?

Most patients with chronic sinus infections do not need surgery. Medical treatment and lifestyle changes usually work or keep symptoms under control. But if the changes do not work, surgery may be the best alternative.

Having surgery is a big decision. Many things have to be considered first. For example: How severe are the symptoms? What does a CT scan show? How is a person's general health? A doctor will recommend if sinus surgery is the appropriate treatment. 

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What happens during sinus surgery?

Today, functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is one of the most common surgical methods to treat chronic sinus infections. In a FESS procedure, the surgeon uses a magnifying endoscope 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 an ENT doctor uses depends on what’s causing the problem. In general, the goal of sinus surgery is to flush out infected material, open up blocked passages, and keep enough healthy tissue so that the nose and sinuses can function normally.

Once the procedure is finished, temporary nasal packing will be placed in the nose to support the newly opened sinus passages and to absorb excess fluid while the tissues heal. If the doctor uses traditional nasal packing, it will have to be removed by them after surgery.

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How long is recovery time?

The recovery time depends on the patient's overall health and which sinus surgery is performed (ethmoidectomy, maxillary antrostomy, or powered septoplasty with turbinoplasty). Usually, the patient should plan to be away from work or school for at least several days after surgery. The doctor will give specific instructions on care following surgery to help speed recovery.

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How much pain is there with this surgery?

Every patient tolerates pain differently. Most patients manage sinus surgery pain with oral pain pills. The doctor can tell them what to expect, based on the type of surgery performed. Facial swelling or bruising is rare, but the inside of the nose will be swollen and sore for a while. This may make breathing through the nose difficult for about two weeks.

It can be painful when the doctor removes the nasal packing from the nose at a follow-up appointment after surgery. This is because tissue and fluid inside the nose can stick to traditional packing material as the nose heals. 

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