Surgical treatment is often recommended for those with chronic sinus infections. This article provides a brief overview about the common sinus surgery procedures.
Sinus infection is a common medical condition experienced by people across the world. While acute sinusitis may be effectively treated with medication, like antibiotics, antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, and decongestants; some people experience chronic sinusitis with recurrent episodes of infections that may last for more than three months. In such cases of repeated sinus infections with no response to medication, doctors may recommend surgical treatment. Usually, surgery is suggested, when the patient does not show any improvement with medication.
Sinus surgery aims at opening up the sinus passages, to improve the airflow, and also to facilitate drainage of the sinuses. Removing nasal polyps and straightening of crooked nasal septum are also done. This article deals with the different types of surgical procedures meant for treating chronic sinus infections.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)
This is an advanced surgical method that involves use of an endoscope (a thin fiber optic tube) for accessing the sinuses and for rectifying the problems. The patient is administered with general or monitored anesthesia, and the endoscope is inserted into the nostril, so as to examine the sinus openings. The endoscope has various attachments, like a light source, a micro telescope and many other instruments. During the surgery, abnormal and obstructive tissues are removed. The surgeon can enlarge sinus openings and facilitate drainage. FESS is usually done as a day surgery and the patient may be discharged on the same day itself. Postoperative complications are also minimal, and the patient may experience only mild swelling and discomfort, after the procedure. In some cases, the patient may have to continue with medication that will be prescribed on the basis of surgical findings.
Image-guided endoscopic sinus surgery is an advanced version of FESS, and is said to be of great help to the surgeon, while operating on patients with structural abnormalities of the nasal passages or sinuses. In other words, image guidance technology is incorporated to FESS, so that the surgeon can view CT scan images, along with the actual surgical endoscopic view. Images obtained from a previously performed CT scan are used for this purpose. This helps in better navigation of surgical tools, and ensures safety and effectiveness of the surgery.
Like balloon angioplasty, wherein balloons are used inside clogged arteries of the heart to facilitate blood flow; balloon sinuplasty aims at opening up the orifices of the sinus cavities. In this sinus surgery procedure, a small guide wire is used to fix a tiny inflatable balloon into the opening of the sinus cavity. The balloon is inflated to widen the sinus opening, thereby facilitating proper sinus drainage.
If medication and endoscopic procedures fail to improve the condition of the patient, the doctor may recommend Caldwell-Luc operation. Unlike other methods, this sinus surgery procedure is performed on the maxillary sinus that is located within the cheekbone, beneath the eye. This procedure improves the drainage of this sinus. In this procedure, the sinus is accessed through the upper jaw and an opening is made from the maxillary sinus to the nose. This opening helps in drainage of the sinus, thereby preventing infections. This surgery is also used in case of malignancy inside the sinus cavity.
As in case of any other surgery, aftercare is very important, and you must strictly follow the instructions of the doctor. After ten days of surgery, the doctor will wash out the sinuses, so as to prevent crusting on the inner surfaces. The doctor may also recommend nasal irrigation at home. After surgery, the patient has to take rest and avoid strenuous physical activities. Any sort of pressure on the inner surfaces of the nose can be harmful. So he/she must avoid bending of head or blowing nose, excessive talking, hard chewing, etc. The patient may be required to take medication, like antibiotics, to prevent infection of the surgical site and steroids to fasten the healing process. Sinus surgery recovery depends on the type of surgery, the complications involved, and the health condition of the patient.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.