Sinus surgery is not necessarily the right treatment for every patient and it is rarely – if ever – the first course of action prescribed by Sinus Center physicians. Indeed, we believe surgery should only be considered after extensive medical treatment, lifestyle modifications, allergy evaluation and treatment if indicated and daily sinus cleansing have failed to improve a patient’s symptoms.
Just as all patients are unique, so, too, are their reported post-surgical experiences. The majority of patients with chronic sinusitis report a significant improvement in their symptoms following their particular surgical procedure; some even experience a complete cure of their sinus problems. Generally speaking, a successful surgical outcome is one that leads to improved breathing, less mucus production, decreased pain and sensitivity, improvement in the sense of smell and taste, fewer episodes of sinus infection, and often a reduction in cough or asthma.
Be mindful, however, that sinusitis is generally a chronic medical disease and that while surgery should improve the overall condition, continued treatment for episodic infection as well as ongoing prevention techniques such as nasal cleansing, avoidance of allergens, and treatment for acid reflux, remain crucial.
Minimally invasive endoscopic sinus surgery:
- is usually performed on an outpatient basis with patients going home several hours after surgery;
- usually causes no facial swelling or bruising;
- does not generally require post-operative nasal packing;
- usually does not cause severe post-operative sinus pain.
Post-operative patients should expect nasal stuffiness, dental soreness, and a mild sore throat, especially if general anesthesia was used. Some bloody nasal drainage is also common for several days after surgery. The sense of smell also may diminish temporarily.
Patients typically return to work within three to four days. Periodic office visits are necessary to examine and clean the sinus cavities to promote healing; these followup appointments are generally once a week or once every other week – depending on the patient’s situation – for the first two to three months following the procedure. Patients generally remain on antibiotics for several weeks after surgery, depending on individual circumstances. Anti-reflux medication and oral steroid medications and antifungal medications are frequently used postoperatively as well.
Patients should not fly during the two weeks immediately following surgery.