Sinus Surgery

1 What is a Sinus Surgery?

Sinus surgery is a procedure during which the surgeon removes diseased sinus tissue to improve the natural drainage channels by the creation of a pathway for infected material to drain from the sinus cavities. It is performed, in most situations, as an outpatient at either the hospital or a surgical center.

Before surgery, the doctor will instruct the patient not to take aspirin 10 days and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications 7 days prior to the date of surgery and give information about other medications. The patient must not eat or drink anything 8 hours prior to the time of the surgery and this includes even water, candy, or chewing gum.

On the day of the surgery, the patient must not wear clothes which have to be pulled over the head. In the pre-operative holding room, a nurse will start an intravenous infusion line (IV) and the patient may be given a medication to help them relax.

During surgery, an anesthesiologist will put the patient to sleep with a mixture of a gas and an intravenous medication. In most situations, the surgeon will use endoscopic techniques which allow better and more precise visualization without the need for external incisions and the result is less swelling, bleeding, and discomfort, and a faster recovery. The whole procedure usually takes several hours.

After the procedure, the patient will be taken to the recovery room for a few hours. A family member or a friend needs to pick the patient from the hospital and spend the first night with the patient. At home, the patient must rest in the bed with head elevated on several pillows to minimize edema and swelling.

If the patient is having to swell of the nose, cheeks, upper lip or around the eyes, it can use ice-packs or packages of frozen vegetables (for example, frozen peas) but separated from the skin by a towel or something similar.

Moderate bleeding from the nose is also normal, and will gradually decrease but the patient must not take aspirin, aspirin-containing medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or any other medications for as long as patient’s surgeon has instructed the following surgery because such medicine may increase bleeding and slow clotting at the surgical site.

The doctor can prescribe to the patient antibiotics and he/she should finish all the pills. Pain medications can be prescribed and taken as needed. The patient should not blow their nose or sneeze through it for 7 to 10 days to reduce the chance of bleeding.

Recovery can take few days, but the patient should refrain from activities such as running, exercising or similar activities for some time.

Good post-operative care and follow-up are the most important things for surgery to succeed. A patient must take care of a maximum moisturize of the sinuses to allow drainage to prevent infection by using plenty of saline irrigation, humidifier, drinking plenty of water and avoiding smoking and sitting in non-smoking sections of restaurants.

The patient must also avoid dust, exposure to pollens during peak season, keep an air-conditioner on during allergy season and prevent colds and flu whenever possible.

A few of the complications which can occur after sinus surgery are:

  • Bleeding
  • Failure to resolve the sinus infections or recurrence of sinus problems
  • Polyps and chronic nasal drainage or excessive dryness or crusting of the nose and
  • Failure to resolve associated "sinus or nasal" headaches

The doctor will explain all the risks and benefits of the surgery with the patient before the procedure.

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