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 done as well. If medicines have failed to provide long lasting relief and allergy testing does not provide a treatment strategy, then 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 4-6 weeks it delivers a measured dose of mometasone furoate, an anti-inflammatory steroid, directly onto the lining of the sinus openings. This helps to keep 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 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! Using an endoscope, a balloon catheter is inserted through the into the sinus passages, and gently inflated. The goal is to permanently expand the sinus openings, allowing for better drainage and air-flow. The balloon is then deflated and removed. This operation is minimally invasive, usually takes less than half an hour to perform, does not require nasal packing and has an average recovery time of just a day-and a half! It is just as effective as traditional Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery, and results in a much quicker recovery.
Image Guided Sinus Surgery
This technology coordinates a 3D CT scan mapping system with computer chips embedded in your surgeon’s instruments through the use of infrared signals. This allows the surgeon to accurately link your anatomy with the scan to more safely and accurately guide those instruments through complex sinus passages.