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Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery: The sinuses, which are important for aiding nasal breathing and the flow of mucus in the nose and throat, can often develop infections or inflammations (known commonly as sinusitis). In most cases, sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics or a nasal spray, but in cases when these are ineffective, it may be necessary to perform Endoscopic Sinus Surgery.

You will require a nasal examination, and possibly a CT scan, in order to decipher whether surgery is necessary.

What does the surgery involve ?

The surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic, but it can be done under local anaesthetic in extenuating circumstances. The operation is consigned completely within the nose, and therefore rarely requires any incisions to be made at all. Once the endoscope has been inserted into the nasal passage, delicate articulating instruments are used to identify, and then restore, the proper drainage and ventilation relationships between the cavities of the nose and the sinuses.

What can I expect after surgery?

You may or may not require dressing postoperatively – something that will be discussed with you during your consultation. If you do, it will either take the form of dressing inside the nose or a plastic splint, which may lead the nose to feel congested immediately after surgery. Dressings will be removed after 24 hours, although splints may have to be worn for longer.

You may experience some discomfort in the immediate interim of your surgery, which can be managed with painkillers that will be prescribed to you by your surgeon.

It’s imperative that you do not blow your nose for 48 hours after surgery; your surgeon will advise you as to when it is OK to start blowing your nose. You should also stay away from particularly smoky or dusty environments during your recovery. Some mucus and bloody fluid may drain from your nose in the first week or two after your surgery, which you should not be worried about.

You will be able to return home either on the day of, or the day after your surgery. You should take 1-2 weeks off work.

What are the risks?

Complications from Endoscopic Sinus Surgery are very rare, but should still be factored into a decision. The following side-effects can develop as a result of endoscopic sinus surgery:

  • Bleedingyou should expect some routine bleeding for a few days after your operation, but major bleeding is a very rare side-effect of surgery of this nature.
  • Eye problemsbecause the sinuses are so close to the wall of the eye socket, minor bleeding can cause bruising around the eyes. This will improve rapidbly in most cases, although it is important not to blow your nose, which can exacerbate it. More serious bleeding into the eye is incredibly rare, but can happen. This can lead to swelling and issues with sight.
  • Spinal Fluid Leakthe sinuses are also close to the bone at the base of the brain, which means that all sinus operations carry a small risk of damage to this bone. If this does occur, you may require further surgery. Very rarely, if an infection in the sinuses spreads to the spinal fluid, it is possible to contract meningitis. Discuss this with your surgeon prior to treatment if you are worried about it.

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