What is Endoscopic sinus surgery?


Know the basics

What is Endoscopic sinus surgery?

Endoscopic sinus surgery, or sinus surgery,  is a treatment for sinusitis or to help prevent the sinusitis from coming back. Sinusitis is not usually serious but it can cause unpleasant symptoms.

Your sinuses are air-filled spaces at the front of your skull, between your eyes and above your upper jaw, that are connected to the inside of your nose. Sinusitis is an infection of the mucous membrane that lines your sinuses. It causes symptoms of pain, a blocked nose, discharge, reduced sense of smell and the feeling of mucus at the back of your nose or throat.

Why is Endoscopic sinus surgery performed?

Endoscopic surgery may be needed when medicine has failed to improve or cure chronic sinusitis. It is the preferred method of surgery for most cases of chronic sinusitis that require surgery.

Endoscopic sinus surgery does not cause as much visible scarring as traditional sinus surgery. Also, it may not cost as much as traditional surgery, because there is a shorter hospital stay, if any, and a shorter recovery. However, the post-operative care is very important along with the sinus surgery.

Besides endoscopic sinus surgery, you should know of some alternatives to this treatment:

  • Antibiotics may help to clear the infection.
  • If your sinusitis is caused by an allergy, you may be able to prevent sinusitis by avoiding the ‘triggers’ of your allergy or by taking medication such as antihistamines.
  • If you use a nasal steroid spray for a long time, you can reduce the size of polyps (small growths which usually make the symptoms worse).

Understand the risks

What are the risks of Endoscopic sinus surgery?

As with any surgery, there are always some risks involved. But endoscopic sinus surgery is very safe when performed by an experienced surgeon who has special training with endoscopic surgical techniques.

Minor complications (such as scar tissue attaching to nearby tissue, or bruising and swelling around the eyes) occur in a small number of people who have the surgery. Major complications (such as heavy bleeding, eye area injury, or brain injury) occur in less than 1 out of 100 cases. Most complications of endoscopic sinus surgery can be managed or prevented.

It is important you understand the risks and complications before having this surgery. If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.

Know what happens

How do I prepare for Endoscopic sinus surgery?

Prior to surgery, you need to refrain from food and drink for 8 hours, have no fever, and arrange for someone to bring you to and from the hospital

You must discuss to your doctor about your recent medications, your allergies or any of your health conditions and before having an operation, you will meet your anaesthetist and plan your anaesthetic together. It’s important to follow the instructions about when to stop eating and drinking prior to surgery. On the day of surgery, you should have all paperwork and meet the anesthesiologist; you also should only take the medication approved by the surgeon and anesthesiologist.

What happens during Endoscopic sinus surgery?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but a local anaesthetic can be used. The operation usually takes one to two hours.

Endoscopic sinus surgery is performed through your nostrils and does not result in any facial scars or change to the outside shape of your nose.

Your surgeon will use a flexible telescope to examine your nasal passages. They will use instruments to remove any polyps and to widen the passages from your sinuses into your nose.

If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.


What happens after Endoscopic sinus surgery?

You should be able to go home the same day. If you had non-dissolvable packing in your nose, it will be removed the next morning.

You should not blow your nose for at least a week. Your nose will continue to feel blocked for a few weeks.

Your surgeon will give you a nasal spray or drops for you to use and you may be given a course of antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask your doctor for advice.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: January 1, 2017 | Last Modified: September 6, 2018

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