Endoscopic sinus surgery, now often referred to as functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is a minimally invasive approach to surgically open the sinuses done most often for benign, inflammatory disease. Usually there are no external incisions and all the work is done through the nostril using lighted tubes called endoscopes. The goal of the surgery is to remove structural blockages while leaving as much of the natural sinus tissue and mucosal lining unharmed. Studies have shown that patients typically do better after this kind of surgery than if much of this tissue is removed. FESS is typically undertaken for chronic and acute sinus problems that are refractory to medical therapy.
Balloon sinus surgery refers to one of the newest developments in sinus surgery. Unlike conventional sinus surgery that relies on removing bone and tissue to open sinuses, balloon sinus surgery uses a fine balloon that is fed into the sinus opening. This balloon, when inflated, causes the bones of the sinus opening to fracture and physically enlarge without requiring removal of tissue.
The different technique gives more options for patients who suffer from sinus disease. It can be used to treat both recurring and chronic sinus problems. It can be done in the operating room or even in the office without a need to go to sleep for the procedure.
Because the surgery is minimally invasive either by FESS or by balloon sinus surgery, downtime is usually pretty low for patients. These surgeries are most often performed on an outpatient basis. Pain is most often minimal and the patient typically experiences relief of symptoms over several days to weeks after surgery. This is a relatively safe surgery and complications are low but occasionally problems such as nasal bleeding does occur. In rare cases more serious complications such as damage to the eye or brain pan can occur. These risks are higher in patients having revision surgery, those with tumors or extensive polyp disease. Although this is true our surgeons have extensive knowledge of sinus anatomy and expertise with endoscopic sinus surgery thereby minimizing the risk of such complications.
If you have questions about sinus surgery or think you may be a candidate please give us a call.