Sinus Surgery (FESS)

Sinus Surgery (FESS)

Sinus Surgery (FESS)
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Sinus Surgery (FESS)

What is sinusitis?

Your sinuses are air-filled cavities at the front of your skull, between your eyes and above your upper jaw, that are linked to the inside of your nose. Sinusitis is an infection of the mucous membrane lining your sinuses. It causes symptoms of pain, a blocked nose, discharge, decreased sense of smell and the feeling of mucus behind your nose or throat.

The mucous membrane that lines your sinuses produces mucus, which aids in keeping the air you breathe clean, warm and moist. If the opening between a sinus and the inside of your nose gets blocked, the mucus gets stocked and can become infected. 

This can make the mucous membrane to become inflamed, causing it to swell and form extra folds in your nose and sinuses. These are called polyps (small growths) and typically make the symptoms worse.

When you need Sinus Surgery

If your sinus pain and sinusitis won't reply to medical treatment, you may be a candidate for sinus surgery.

When you’re diagnosed with sinusitis, your first treatment would probably come from your primary care doctor. But if sinusitis does not react to treatment in three months, it’s considered chronic sinusitis, and the next line of action is to see a specialist called an otolaryngologist. These surgeons specialize in issues of the ears, nose, and throat and are also knows as ENT doctors. If your sinus problems are so bad that you need sinus surgery, an ENT doctor will carry out the surgery.

What are the benefits to surgery?



The aim is to broaden the passage between the sinus and your nose so that mucus is no longer trapped. This should stop the sinusitis from returning but your sense of smell may not improve.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Antibiotics may assist to clear the infection. If your sinusitis is caused by an allergy, you may be able to stop sinusitis by avoiding the ‘triggers’ of your allergy or by using medication such as antihistamines or a nasal steroid spray. If you use a nasal steroid spray for a long period of time, you can reduce the size of polyps, which may mean that you do not require surgery.

What does the procedure involve?

The surgery is usually performed under a general anaesthetic, but a local anaesthetic can also be applied. The surgery generally lasts for about 1 to 2 hours. Endoscopic sinus surgery is conducted through your nostrils and does not cause any facial scars or change to the outside shape of your nose.

Your surgeon will use a small telescope (endoscope) to inspect your nasal passages. They will use some tools to remove any polyps and to widen the passages from your sinuses into your nose.

What complications can happen?

Like all operations, some complications can be severe and can even cause death. However, discuss with your doctor if you have any concerns regarding this procedure.

General complications of any operation

It is important for patients to be aware of the likely complications that could occur:

·         Pain

·         Bleeding

·         Infection of the surgical site (wound)

·         Blood clot in your leg

·         Blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

In addition, it is good for patients to be aware of more precise complications that could occur:

·         Adhesions, where scar tissue are created deep inside your nose

·         Leak of fluid from your brain

·         injury to the orbit (the bone around your eye)

·         Double vision

·         Blindness

·         Toxic shock syndrome, an infection of your bloodstream

·         Damage to your tear duct

·         Reduced sense of smell

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go back home that same day. If you had non-dissolvable packing in your nose, you will be required to stay overnight, and the packing will be removed the next morning. Do not blow your nose for at least 5 to 7 days. Your nose will still feel blocked for a few weeks. Your surgeon will provide you with nasal spray or drops for you to use. You may be given a course of antibiotics to lower the risk of infection. Regular exercise should assist you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask your doctor for advice. Most people make a good recovery.


Sinusitis is not normally serious, but it can cause unpleasant symptoms. If treatment does not help, endoscopic sinus surgery should help stop the sinusitis from coming back.

DisclaimerThe information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by





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