Chronic sinusitis leaves many Americans feeling miserable. When medical treatment fails to help clear up symptoms, your doctor may recommend endoscopic sinus surgery. This procedure entails using an endoscope – a camera mounted to a tube – to assist the surgeon in removing tissue blocking the nasal passages, allowing for easier breathing and relief from your symptoms.
Are You a Candidate for Sinus Surgery?
Chronic sinusitis is a bothersome condition that occurs when the tissues lining the sinuses swell, trapping fluids that cause germs or bacteria to flourish. This leads to infection and symptoms similar to the common cold including runny nose, facial pain and pressure, stuffy nose, loss of smell, fever, and fatigue. Symptoms that persist for 12 weeks or more are deemed chronic.
Your doctor will examine you thoroughly and take a look at your clinical history to determine whether you are a candidate for endoscopic sinus surgery. The cause of your sinusitis will need to be established through diagnostic testing (CT scan, blood tests, etc.). Typically, surgery is recommended only after other treatment options have failed.
Understanding The Procedure
During endoscopic sinus surgery, which is usually performed on an outpatient basis, you’ll be given general anesthetic and a local anesthetic. Your surgeon will then insert an endoscope through your nostrils, relying on the camera for a visual inspection of your sinus openings. Any extraneous and/or obstructive tissue will be removed. The goal is to open up your sinus passages to promote normal fluid drainage.
After surgery, you may be given nasal packing. It will be necessary to irrigate your nasal passages periodically to keep them from crusting over. You may be given antibiotics or steroids to assist with your recovery.
Endoscopic sinus surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that is considered safe and effective. There is little swelling or pain, and complications are rare.