A significant number of people suffer from chronic sinus problems. Surgery becomes an option when the condition is deemed to be serious and can’t be resolved using less invasive methods. The aim of most nasal procedures is to remove anything blocking the drainage of mucus which is the natural substance that serves to trap viruses and bacteria in order to prevent infection. During surgery bone, tissue, polyps, even foreign objects may be removed from the nasal cavity. Surgery may also be used to enlarge the sinus openings.
Physicians may recommend that patients undergo sinus surgery after non invasive methods such as steroid nasal spray, decongestants, and antibiotics have proven to be ineffective. The presence of nasal polyps can also be a major health concern and is usually detected after conducting a CT scan. Surgery may also be required if the infection is caused by fungus.
Types of Surgery
Both endoscopic as well as more traditional surgery are used to treat sinusitis. In the case of endoscopic surgery the procedure involves a doctor inserting a thin fiber-optic instrument known as a endoscope into the patient’s nose.The origins of so called functional endoscopic sinus surgery date back to the 1950s. The procedure is designed to facilitate improved mucus drainage by unblocking or enlarging sinus pathways. Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Pain is minimal with mild swelling and no visible scarring.
When complications arise that require further surgery doctors may choose to access the nasal cavity using more traditional methods such as by making a small incision in the patient’s face or mouth. Surgery usually takes between one to three hours and depending upon the type of procedure the operation can be performed under either general or local anesthesia.
Another surgical procedure, called the Caldwell Luc operation,is used in order to relieve chronic sinusitis by draining the maxillary sinus cavity which is situated under the patient’s eyes. The procedure derives its name from doctors George Caldwell and Henry Luc. Access to this particular region is achieved by way of the upper jaw where an opening is created connecting the maxillary sinus cavity to the nose. This operation is usually performed in cases in which a tumor or malignancy has been detected.
Before sinus surgery patients must undergo a number of medical tests. These may include CT scans, nasal physiology, smell testing, and blood tests. Patients are also advised to stop smoking at least three weeks prior to undergoing nasal surgery.
After undergoing sinus surgery patients can expect a degree of localized stiffness and crusting. In order to relieve any nasal discomfort patients may use saline nasal rinses, decongestants, non aspirin pain relievers, or icepacks . It’s usually required that after the initial surgical procedure patients make several return trips to the doctor. These appointments should be scheduled for about a month or so after surgery.
Depending upon the extent and type of sinus surgery risks include numbness, scarring, bleeding, and possible infection.