Sinusitis surgery is one of the most recommended procedures that helps in relieving chronic sinusitis. It involves either the correction of structural problems on your sinuses or removal of blockages within the nasal passages. Having a clear nasal and sinus passage will allow normal drainage of mucus, improve your sense of smell, and make it easier to breathe.
What is sinusitis surgery?
Sinuses are cavities found on a person’s skull that are essential in maintaining balance, making it lighter than it actually is. This cavity is where your body produces mucus which is necessary for preventing unwanted particles from entering your system. The moisture that comes from the mucus serves as a protective layer that filters out dirt, pollutants, and other infectious organisms. When sinus passages are blocked, it may lead to severe nasal problems such as stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, physical pain, and many more.
Sinus surgery is an essential procedure that will help in clearing up the airways of the sinuses and remove unnecessary blockages. If you often experience sinus infections, have an unusual growth within your sinus area, or have an abnormal sinus structure, you might need to undergo a sinus surgery.
What are the usual reasons for having sinusitis surgery?
Most often than not, people opt for sinus surgery to relieve discomfort and improve their well-being. Sinusitis can cause unbearable pressure, headaches, and nasal congestion which can significantly affect your daily activities and overall lifestyle. Having a sinus surgery is essential for a number of reasons:
- Remove unnecessary blockages within the nasal passages
- Nasal polyps
- Damaged nasal tissues
- A build-up of mucous membranes
There are various types of sinus surgery that can be done and carried out to help prevent chronic sinusitis. These can be classified as functional, image-guided, balloon sinuplasty, and Caldwell-Luc.
1. Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
The endoscopic sinus surgery, as its name implies, uses a nasal endoscope to treat chronic sinusitis. It has gained its popularity and remains the most common type of sinus surgery because it does not require any visible incisions. It usually takes about an hour or two and does not result in swelling or bruising, thus making it the surgery of choice by many.
Endoscopic sinus surgery is done by inserting the illuminated fibre-optic tube into the nose until it reaches the sinus openings. This endoscope contains a miniature camera which takes high-resolution imagery. These images are transmitted to the monitor and are reflected like a CT scan. It serves as a guide to the surgeons during the operation.
Tiny surgical instruments are used to remove unwanted tissues, polyps, and blockages. If the endoscopic sinus surgery is done because of an abnormal bone structure, correction of cartilages and reduction of enlarged bones are performed. Once the sinus surgery is carried out, you would notice that there is little to no scarring left.
2. Image-Guided Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
This type of endoscopic sinus surgery is an innovated and newer procedure that is often used for severe sinus and nasal blockages. It is recommended to be performed if you have undergone prior sinus surgeries. Aside from using an endoscope, it uses a high-technology feature that shows a three-dimensional mapping system. With the help of infrared signals and CT scans, the surgeon can easily navigate across the nasal passages and perform surgery at ease. Tissue blockages are removed accurately, and correction of a nasal structure is done more efficiently.
The extreme precision of image-guided sinus surgery is a safer and more specific technique than the traditional endoscopic sinus surgery.
3. Balloon Sinuplasty
Balloon sinuplasty is performed by dilating the sinus blockage and creating an open space. This way, the sinus can be drained naturally. Balloon sinuplasty also uses an endoscope that helps in guiding the insertion of a thin wire as it reaches the nasal passages. When the wire gets through the opening of the blocked sinus, the location of the blockage is then checked. Once it is confirmed, a thin catheter attached with a small balloon is guided along until it reaches the blocked sinus. The balloon is then inflated, which leads to the dilation of the nasal passage. Regular draining occurs afterwards, which resolves the blockage.
Balloon sinuplasty can be performed in combination with other types of sinus surgery, especially when the symptoms of chronic sinusitis and sinus blockage are severe. It usually takes an hour to complete and requires the patient to be under general anaesthesia.
4. Caldwell-Luc Operation
This procedure is the most invasive and less common than other sinus surgeries. When there is an unusual growth within the sinus cavity, the Caldwell-Luc operation is performed. This technique improves sinus drainage by creating a window or pathway between the nose and maxillary sinus. It involves making a cut along the upper jaw, which allows entry to the sinus cavity.
After sinus surgery, you may experience small amounts of bleeding. Nasal packing is often used to help you with the recovery. It is a sterile material that works like a gauze. However, nasal packing is intended to be inserted to the nasal passage. It can be absorbable which dissolves over time but can also be non-absorbable, depending on what your doctor recommends.
Depending on the extensiveness of your surgery, your surgeon may provide you with some prescription for pain and recovery. Particular medication aids in decreasing the number of post-surgery effects, such as:
- Bleeding in small amounts
- Nasal congestion
- Mild breathing discomfort
Each patient has a different recovery period. Several factors, such as age and physical capacity, are responsible for the healing time. It may also depend on the type of sinus surgery you underwent. Nonetheless, many people experience only mild discomfort after sinus surgery.
It is essential to closely follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions as well as take note of the do’s and don’ts after the procedure. Be sure to take all medications as prescribed, which will help for a faster recovery. Contac our team at Refine Clinic on (02) 8880 9037 to book your initial consultation.