Sinus infections bring pain and misery to millions of Americans. When the condition is chronic or recurs frequently, and medications do little to provide relief, then sinus surgery is often recommended. There are multiple procedures available, each with the same goal in mind: to remove any obstructions and enlarge the sinus openings, improving both airflow into the sinuses and drainage of fluids out of the sinuses.
Sinus surgery is far more commonplace now than in the past. Advances in medicine have led to procedures that are minimally invasive with little risk for complications.
Who Is A Candidate for Sinus Surgery?
To determine if you are a candidate for sinus surgery, our ENT physician will thoroughly examine your ears, nose and throat, looking for obstructions and other abnormalities such as nasal polyps. This usually involves nasal endoscopy and a CT scan of the sinuses. Allergy testing is often part of the diagnosis as well. If medicines fail to provide long-lasting relief and allergy testing does not provide a treatment strategy, surgery will be considered.
In some cases, sinusitis leads to other very serious health problems like pneumonia, worsening asthma, eye infections or even meningitis. In those cases, rather than relying on medication, surgery may be the best first step to help control or prevent these serious problems from happening again.
What Sinus Surgery Options Are Available?
Depending on your condition, insurance, lifestyle and symptoms, our ENT physician may recommend one or more surgical treatment options.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)
If you’re suffering from chronic sinusitis and have exhausted all medical treatment options, our physician may recommend a surgical procedure known as functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). This involves using an endoscope – a tube with a tiny camera attached – to guide a surgeon in removing extraneous tissue to open up the nasal passages.
What Is FESS?
The goal of FESS is to open up the sinuses, allowing normal drainage of fluids to occur. Without proper ventilation, mucus builds up in the sinuses, leading to infection.
To determine if you are a candidate for FESS, our physician will thoroughly examine your ears, nose and throat, looking for obstructions and other abnormalities such as nasal polyps. If the odds of a successful surgery look promising, an appointment will be scheduled with a surgeon at Family Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic.
FESS is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. An endoscope is inserted in the nose, and the camera is used to visually inspect the sinus openings. The surgeon relies on these images in order to remove excess obstructive tissue.
The surgery is performed through the nostrils, making it a less intrusive procedure that won’t leave scars or cause facial swelling or bruising. Post-operative care includes flushing the nasal passages to keep debris from building up. In some cases, antibiotics or steroids may be prescribed in order to speed up the recovery process.
Call Family Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic at (402) 572-3165 for more information or to schedule an appointment.