Is it Time for Sinus Surgery? Will It Help Bring My Smell and Taste Back?

Question: Hello, First off, thanks for taking the time to read and answer. I would like to know is it time for sinus surgery, but please, read my background first.

I have been having sinus issues for about 6-7 years now. At first, I just dealt with it—runny nose, sinus infections, etc. Rarely took anything, just figured it was normal colds.

Is it Time for Sinus SurgerySo after three years or so, I noticed my left nostril would be blocked. It ended up being blocked about 95% of the time. I went to see an ENT. They took a CT scan. Said I had mucus filling all my sinus cavities. They also said I had a deviated septum.

Not real bad except in one area where they said “Severe deviation.” They prescribed Flonase at the time. I tried it, worked OK, but whether it was the medicine, or me just getting worse, my sense of smell and taste really started to go away. I still had a faint sense, but it wasn’t nearly as good. I quit the medication for fear it was the issue.

After another two years of suffering and taking allergy pills which seemed to help (Alegra), I went to my allergist. I could hardly smell at all anymore, and I was getting very depressed about it.

These people were 100% more caring and helpful. They looked at my old CT scan, told me it showed infection, which the ENT never said anything about. They tested me for environmental allergies, and I was basically allergic to everything, pets, grass, dust, mold, trees, etc. But, I rarely get itchy eyes, its just congestion, and constant clear, bubbly mucus.

I blow it out, more there, blow it again, more there. They prescribed Prednisone and an antibiotic to see if we could improve anything. I was also given a nasal inhaler (Q-Nasl). I took the medication, and for the first time in years, I could smell!! I almost started crying. I was so happy.

Is it Time for Sinus SurgeryWell, that only lasted for about as long as the prednisone. I got another CT scan, and they said it was better, but not really much had changed. I still had mucus build up and the infection. Over the course of the last year, I have taken Q-nasal daily. My sense of smell is now essentially nill.

I can’t taste food, and I am at the end. I can’t take it any longer. Over the last three weeks, I have been taking nettle leaf capsules to try and help with allergies if that is my issue.  I have even gone through nasal irrigation and the “Friggy Flip Turn” sinus rinse method, Google it if you have never heard of it.

That seems to help clear out all sorts of gunk, but my left side is still persistently closed off. I can breathe easier for sure since my visit last year. Let’s call it 50% blockage of airflow now on the left side. But my smell is gone still.

But keep this in mind…when I eat food or want to smell something, If I blow out of my left nostril, I can usually pick up on smells and tastes. So it’s not gone. It came back with prednisone, so I know its still there. After I blow my nose on the left side, you can even hear like pressure releasing and squeaking. I can feel it happen. It’s like no room for things to go. Like a big build up with only a small opening but lots of pressure. But why can I hardly smell out my ride side? I would figure with one nostril I could still smell a little, but not really.

The question is, is it time for sinus surgery? What else can I do? Will it help bring my smell and taste back? I know there are no guarantees, but is there a good chance that I just have a blockage with my septum, that causes excess mucus and blocks air from traveling to the olfactories? I am thinking of going back to a new ENT and giving them the run through and go from there. At this point, it’s hard to enjoy life.


I would suggest that you carefully research the sinus specialist you ultimately choose to do your surgery if it is indicated.

Unlike many other types of surgery, different individuals do sinus surgery very differently. I would suggest seeing someone who practices the most up-to-date type of endoscopic surgery and has a great deal of experience.

Some otolaryngologists are still performing older types of surgery, which are much less successful and in fact, can ultimately lead to more problems than you already have.

I hope this helps.

Scott Gold MD