Surgery: What to Expect – Ethmoidectomy Sinus Infections


An ENT physician (otolaryngologist) specializes in conditions of the ear, nose, and throat. This is the medical professional who performs an ethmoidectomy. The two of you will decide if an ethmoidectomy is the best surgical treatment for your chronic sinus infection.

Before Surgery

An ethmoidectomy is outpatient or day surgery, which means you can usually go home the same day as your procedure. Make sure you have a friend or family member who can drive you home after surgery.

You'll meet with your healthcare team before the operation, and they'll answer any questions you may have. The anesthesiologist will ask about your medical history and develop an anesthesia plan. He or she will discuss the plan with you and answer your questions.

During Surgery

This procedure is usually done under general anesthesia. It can last from 1 to 3 hours, depending on your particular condition. During surgery, your ENT surgeon passes a narrow tube called an endoscope into your nose. This tube has a tiny camera and a light at the end of it, so the surgeon has an excellent view of your ethmoid sinuses.

Small surgical instruments are then passed to the site of the problem through another thin tube. With these instruments, your surgeon opens the ethmoid sinus cavity to improve drainage into the nasal airway.

After Surgery

Immediately after surgery, you'll be in a recovery room and monitored for about an hour or so. This is to make sure there are no complications. If you're doing well, you can usually leave the hospital the same day.

Before you leave the hospital, you'll get important instructions on how to care for your nose and sinuses while they heal, and when to return for a follow-up visit. Your doctor may also give you several prescriptions, including one for pain medication, in case you need it.

If you have any questions or concerns before and after your ethmoidectomy, be sure to ask your doctor.

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.