Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

When medical treatments for chronic sinusitis or recurrent acute sinusitis don’t provide sufficient relief from your symptoms, endoscopic sinus surgery may be an appropriate option for you.

What is endoscopic sinus surgery?

Endoscopic sinus surgery is a surgical procedure and treatment option for those with sinusitis. The goal of sinus surgery is to widen the natural openings of the sinuses, which allows better distribution of topical therapies to the sinus cavities, such as topical saline, steroids, or antibiotics. In addition, the enlarged holes make it easier for sinus mucus to drain, even when swollen from infection or environmental irritants.

sinus cavities with polyp
Figure A: View of the sinus cavities. A polyp inside the sinus is causing blockage, making it difficult to breathe or deliver medical therapies to the sinuses.
sinus cavities after polyp removal
Figure B: View of the sinus cavities (from Fig. A). The polyp has been removed, creating space and allowing for air flow through the sinuses.

The surgery is performed entirely through the nose with the use of rigid nasal endoscopes, without any external incisions. In addition to endoscopes, special instruments have been designed to perform the task of removing thickened and diseased tissue from the nose and sinuses while preserving as much normal tissue as possible.

Nasal packing (the application of gauze or cotton material in the nasal cavity to control bleeding after surgery at the end of surgery) is no longer common practice. Some patients may benefit from the placement of small sinus spacers or stents to aid in optimal sinus wound healing. These spacers or stents do not prevent the patient from being able to breathe, they cause minimal discomfort, and they are removed around one week after surgery.

How will endoscopic sinus surgery affect me?

If you are a candidate for endoscopic sinus surgery, a sinus CT scan will be ordered to assess the extent of your condition and allow your surgeon to plan his or her surgical approach based on your unique sinus anatomy.

Patients are put under general anesthesia for the duration of the surgery, which generally lasts from about one to three hours depending on the severity of the patient’s condition. Patients usually go home the same day of surgery, unless other medical conditions warrant a hospital stay.

Our team of experienced surgeons will be with you every step of the way to answer questions regarding your care, and will see you multiple times for post-operative appointments to ensure proper healing, starting around one week after surgery. The postoperative follow-up appointments are the most important part of the sinus surgery process, to ensure the sinuses heal properly without scarring. Recovery time varies from patient to patient, but people typically return to their daily routines about one week after surgery. Initially, patients should expect to feel congested and have mild to moderate nasal and facial pressure. As the sinuses gradually heal, the congestion and pressure will subside.

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is a complex condition that causes swelling of the tissue lining in the walls of the sinus cavities and can affect quality of life.

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Our Sinus Team

If you need surgery for your sinus condition, our team of sinus experts will be with you during the entire process and throughout recovery.

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