Sinus infections bring pain and misery to millions of Americans. When the condition is chronic or recurs frequently and medications do little to provide relief, then sinus surgery is often recommended. There are a couple of different procedures available, each with the same goal in mind: to remove nasal obstructions and enlarge the sinus openings, enabling proper drainage of the sinuses.
Sinus surgery is far more commonplace now than in the past. Advances in medicine have led to procedures that are minimally invasive with little risk for complications.
What Sinus Surgery Options Are Available?
Depending on your condition, insurance, lifestyle and symptoms, your ENT physician may recommend one or more surgical treatment options. Some of the most common procedures we perform in-house or at our outpatient surgery center include:
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS)
The goal of FESS is to open up the sinuses, flush out infection, and open blocked passages which will allow normal sinus drainage.
Who is a candidate for FESS?
To determine if you are a candidate for FESS, your doctor will thoroughly examine your ears, nose and throat, looking for obstructions and other abnormalities such as nasal polyps. Examination will often include use of an endoscope, which is a lighted magnified tube that allows the doctor to look into the nose and sinuses. This procedure is often done with a topical numbing spray to minimize discomfort and can be performed in a few seconds. A low-dose CT scan can be done in the office, which will allow the doctor to quickly diagnose your condition. In office CT scans take at most 20 seconds.
How is FESS performed?
FESS is usually performed as an outpatient procedure at a surgery center or in the office. An endoscope is inserted in the nose, and the camera is used to visually inspect the sinus openings. The surgeon relies on these images in order to remove excess obstructive tissue.
Image guided surgery
This procedure relies on a 3D mapping system using CT scans, much like a GPS navigation system on your phone or car. This allows the surgeon to accurately guide instruments through complex sinus passages and is especially helpful for those with chronic sinusitis or when previous sinus surgery has changed the usual anatomy of the sinuses. Image guidance can be used with outpatient surgery as well as in the office in order to improve surgical accuracy and decrease potential complications.
Minimally Invasive Balloon Sinuplasty
Gentle dilation of the sinuses using endoscopic technique allows the sinuses to drain and relieves symptoms due to chronic sinusitis. This procedure is primarily performed in the office under local anesthesia or IV sedation with less recovery time versus traditional sinus procedures. Patients may return to work the same day or the day after with minimal discomfort and risks are extremely rare. The procedure takes minutes and can lead to lasting results. The procedure may be performed with image guidance to improve accuracy and sometimes is performed along with traditional endoscopic sinus techniques (hybrid procedure) depending on the unique needs of the patient.
Call River ENT at (512) 677-6368 for more information or to schedule an appointment.