The most common sinus surgery is called functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). In this procedure, an endoscope is inserted through the nose to allow removal of problematic bone and tissue. Another surgery sometimes used is traditional sinus surgery, in which incisions are made in the face or mouth to access the sinuses.
Sinus surgery can be an effective treatment for chronic sinus infections, but most patients never require surgical intervention. When medications, lifestyle changes, and other efforts at treatment fail to control severe sinus symptoms, surgery might be recommended. Questions to be considered by Dr. Totten and any patient before deciding to move forward with surgery include:
Special considerations are taken in young children and older adults.
Because patients are under general anesthesia during sinus surgery, the procedure itself is not painful. However, most patients do experience some level of pain or discomfort during the recovery period. A common effect is swelling inside the nose, which can be sore and make breathing through the nose difficult. A few patients experience facial bruising.
Sinus surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means that the patient is able to go home the same day as the procedure. Because anesthesia is used during the procedure, the patient spends some time in recovery after the procedure, where there vital signs are closely monitored. A driver must accompany the patient to the procedure as he or she will not be able to drive for 24–48 hours after the surgery. Instructions are sent home with the patient, and he or she will need to return to the clinic for scheduled follow-up appointments in the days and weeks following the procedure.
Recovery time varies from patient to patient, depending on the patient’s general health, age, and the surgery performed. Most patients need several days to a week off of work to recover. It’s important that patients follow all instructions at home to ensure a successful recovery after the procedure.
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