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, your ENT doctor 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, your ENT physician may recommend one or more surgical treatment options.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)
This technique uses a nasal endoscope to visualize the natural drainage pathways of the sinuses. Specialized instruments are then used to remove tissue to widen those pathways. It is usually done in the operating room.
Propel Sinus Implants
This is a technology that significantly improves the results of Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery. This dissolvable implant is inserted into the surgically widened sinus openings. While the implant dissolves over the next four to six weeks, it delivers a measured dose of mometasone furoate, an anti-inflammatory steroid, directly onto the lining of the sinus openings; this keeps the openings wide open during the healing process.
These steroid implants are especially effective at preventing the regrowth of nasal polyps. Sinuva, one variation of this implant, can be inserted in the office in patients who have had sinus surgery in the past. This procedure can be an effective way to treat polyps, which have regrown.
Balloon sinuplasty revolutionized sinusitis treatment. It does not require any tissue to be removed and can be done right in the office. Your surgeon inserts a balloon catheter into the sinus passages with an endoscope and gently inflates it. The goal is to permanently expand the sinus openings, allowing for better drainage and airflow. The balloon gets removed after it deflates. This operation is minimally-invasive, usually takes less than 30 minutes to perform, does not require nasal packing and has an average recovery time of less than a day. It is just as effective as traditional Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery and results in a faster recovery.
Image-Guided Sinus Surgery
This technology coordinates a 3D CT scan mapping system with computer chips embedded in your surgeon’s instruments using infrared signals. This allows the surgeon to accurately link your anatomy with the scan to guide those instruments safely and accurately through complex sinus passages.