Have you been experiencing chronic facial pain/pressure, nasal congestion, discolored nasal discharge and postnasal drip? If so, you may be suffering from chronic sinusitis, also known as chronic sinus infections. While most cases of chronic sinusitis can be managed with medications, some persistent infections require surgery. This is where endoscopic sinus surgery comes in.
What Is Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?
Endoscopic sinus surgery is an outpatient procedure that opens the sinus passageways to allow them to drain, relieving chronic infections. During the procedure, a physician or surgeon uses an endoscope – which is a small lighted telescope – so that they can see in the nostrils. This means no skin incisions are required.
What Can I Expect?
Below is a guide to help you prepare for your procedure and what to expect during and after.
Before Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
To prepare for surgery, your doctor may prescribe preoperative medications such as antibiotics and/or oral steroids. You should avoid taking certain medications/supplements for two weeks before the surgery such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, non-steroid anti-inflammatories, vitamin E, gingko biloba, garlic tablets, ginseng and St. John’s wort. Tylenol is considered safe.
You should also stop smoking for three weeks before surgery and for four weeks after.
During Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
In most cases, general anesthesia is administered, though a local anesthetic may be used in some cases. After your surgery, you’ll spend an hour in the recovery room, plus another hour or two in a second stage recovery unit. Most patients go home the same day.
After Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Expect mild bleeding for a day or two after surgery and feelings of fatigue for one to two weeks. You can manage pain with over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. Your doctor will check in with you in the weeks following surgery to ensure you’re healing well. Be sure to follow all post-operative instructions.
Is Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Safe?
Endoscopic sinus surgery is a very common procedure, and it is considered highly safe. That said, like with any surgical procedure, there is a small chance of risks. These include:
- Most sinus surgeries entail some amount of blood loss, but sometimes significant bleeding may occur.
- Recurrence of infections. While most people experience relief after their surgery, a small minority of patients may continue to have symptoms.
- Vision problems. In extremely rare cases, the eyes may be injured due to their close proximity to the sinuses.
- Other problems. Other uncommon side effects include altered taste/smell, change in voice quality and swelling/bruising around the eyes.
Talk to your doctor to weigh the risks and benefits of this procedure.
If you’re ready to enjoy easy breathing and be able to smell the flowers at Washington Park once again, call Albany ENT & Allergy Services today.