Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (ESS)

Endoscopic surgery may be needed when medicine has failed to improve or cure chronic sinusitis. Patients often experience chronic, repeated sinus infections because of an obstruction blocking the flow of mucus from their sinuses or because of another health problem. Surgery can remove blockages and make the sinus openings bigger which helps the sinuses drain, preventing future infections. Endoscopic sinus surgery is highly effective for treating sinus conditions and improves symptoms in about 90 out of 100 patients.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery with Surgical Instruments

Sinus surgery aims to clear blocked sinuses and restore normal sinus drainage. In endoscopic sinus surgery, an endoscope is inserted into the nose, providing the doctor with an inside view of the sinuses. Surgical instruments are inserted into the sinuses alongside the endoscope thereby allowing the doctor to remove small amounts of bone or other material blocking the sinus openings and growths (polyps) of the mucous membrane.

Surgery is most successful when it is used along with medication and home treatment to prevent future sinus infections. A second surgery and future sinus infections may be avoided if antibiotics are taken to prevent reinfection.

What are the benefits of endoscopic sinus surgery with surgical instruments?
Endoscopic sinus surgery offers more benefits to patients than traditional, more invasive sinus surgeries:

  • Less Scarring
    This procedure does not leave as much visible scarring as traditional sinus surgery because all the cutting is done endoscopically.
  • Affordability
    Because this procedure requires a shorter hospital stay (if any) than traditional surgery it is much less expensive.
  • Faster Recovery
    Patients can fully recover from endoscopic sinus surgery within a matter of weeks.

What should I expect of the surgery?
This sinus surgery is done in a hospital under either local or general anesthesia. Because the procedure removes bone and tissue, minor discomfort and bleeding are common during the first two weeks after surgery. Weekly visits to the surgeon may be necessary for several weeks after the surgery to remove dried blood, scabs and mucus.

Recovery also may involve:

  • Taking antibiotics.
  • Using a nasal spray containing a steroid or taking an oral steroid to reduce inflammation.
  • Using saltwater washes (saline nasal lavage or irrigation) to keep the nasal passages moist and clean.
  • Avoiding activities such as blowing the nose, exercising strenuously, and bending forward for a few days.
  • Using a humidifier to keep room air moist, especially in the bedroom.

Packing the sinuses is usually not required. 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.

Sinus surgery does not always completely eliminate sinusitis, and some patients may need a second operation. More advanced allergy treatment might be required beyond steroids and antihistamines.

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