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What is Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?

Endoscopic sinus surgery is a procedure that involves the use of an endoscope, a fiberoptic tube-like instrument, to open the natural drainage pathways of the sinuses and restore their health and function.

Anatomy of the Sinuses

The sinuses are a system of hollow cavities in your skull bones. They are lined by mucous membranes which produce mucus to moisturize the nasal passages and prevent the entry of dust, germs, and allergens into the body through the nose. The sinuses drain into the nose through small openings which can become blocked through infection and swelling of the mucous membranes or abnormal growths.

Indications for Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

You may be a candidate for endoscopic sinus surgery if you have sinusitis, a deviated nasal septum, nasal turbinate hypertrophy, nasal polyps, or other conditions that block the sinuses, prevent drainage of mucus and cause breathing difficulty.

Preparation for Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Specific instructions will be provided by your surgeon. In general, you should:

  • Inform your surgeon about any health conditions, allergies, and medications you are taking.
  • Avoid smoking as it will slow down the healing process.
  • Follow the eating and drinking restrictions as instructed prior to the surgery.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Procedure

  • The procedure can be performed under local or general anesthesia.
  • The surgeon will insert the endoscope through the nostrils to obtain a magnified view of the sinus tissues.
  • Special instruments will be inserted through the endoscope to remove sinus blockages such as nasal polyps.
  • Excess bone and cartilage may be removed, and a septoplasty also may be performed if necessary.
  • Following the procedure, you will be moved to the recovery room for a short period of observation.

Recovery after Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

  • You may require 1-2 hours to recover from the effects of general anesthesia after which you may be discharged home.
  • There be temporary stuffiness, discomfort, and a slight bloody nasal discharge.Your surgeon will provide medications to alleviate symptoms if necessary.
  • Sinus irrigations are usually recommended twice a day during your recovery. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to perform them.
  • Blowing your nose and strenuous activity should be avoided for two weeks after surgery.
  • Keep your follow-up visits as recommended to ensure a positive surgical outcome.

Risks of Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Endoscopic sinus surgery is a very safe procedure which can greatly improve your breathing and quality of life; however, as with any other surgery, there is a minimal risk of complications which include infection, bleeding, delayed healing, altered sense of smell, and airway obstruction.