Sinus inflammation (rhinosinusitis) can be an intensely irritating condition which can be stubborn to treat. There are a number of treatments which can be considered, from ‘home remedies’ to medication. However, when all else fails and particularly in chronic rhinosinusitis, surgery is often required. Doctors recommend undergoing surgery after all other alternatives have failed or have been ruled out.
Types of operation
Surgery by a sinus specialist is most often performed to relieve the patient of a painful sinus infection, or the symptoms of chronic sinusitis. Endoscopic (keyhole) surgery is the most common method applied. An endoscope is used by the doctor to check the sinus and surrounding nasal passages and is used to remove any inflamed tissue which is the likely source of painand/or polyps. Polyps are areas of swollen mucosa (nasal lining) which are formed by chronic inflammation and can block the passage of air and in some instances, reduce the nose’s smelling function.
This type of surgery is called functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). Modern techniques include the use of image guidance technology- computer assisted sinus surgery (CASS). Success rates are high and sinus surgeons are confident about the long-term effects of endoscopic surgery. Surgery typically lasts about two hours.
Possible serious side effects of sinus operations
While sinus surgery is relatively successful in assuring an improvement in the symptoms of sinusitis, operations are not without risk.
The surgeon may inadvertently create an opening in the bone between the sinus and the brain and cause some leakage of cerebrospinal fluid, which in turn can cause meningitis. This opening can be closed if spotted at the time of surgery, or surgery can be done later if the leak comes to light later on.
Loss of vision, permanent double vision, and other minor visual problems also occur.
All of these are extremely rare side effects of surgery (less than 0.5% of cases).
Recovery from sinus operations
Sinus congestion and oozing of blood are common in the days following operation. Complete rest is likely to be recommended by the sinus doctor following operation and patients should clear their diaries for one to two weeks after the date of their operation. Avoiding work and limiting contact with other people is recommended for this period also.
More information here.
Last updated 18/9/16