The Benefits and Risks of FESS: What to Consider Before Surgery

endoscopic sinus surgery

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is a type of surgery that can provide relief for people suffering from chronic sinusitis and related symptoms. However, like any surgical procedure, there are both benefits and risks that should be carefully considered before making the decision to undergo FESS.

What is FESS?

FESS stands for functional endoscopic sinus surgery, which is a surgical procedure used to treat chronic sinusitis and other sinus-related conditions. The procedure involves the use of an endoscope, which is a small, flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it, to allow the surgeon to see inside the nasal passages and sinuses. The endoscope is inserted through the nostril and guided to the sinus opening, where the surgeon can use small instruments to remove any blockages, polyps or tissue that may be causing chronic inflammation or infection. FESS is a minimally invasive procedure and is often performed as an outpatient procedure under local or general anesthesia. It has a high success rate in providing long-term relief from sinus-related symptoms and improving overall quality of life.

Benefits of FESS

FESS is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small endoscope to allow the surgeon to see inside the sinuses and remove any blockages or growths that may be causing chronic sinusitis. There are many benefits associated with FESS, including:

endoscopic sinus surgery. art concept
  • Long-term relief from chronic sinusitis: FESS is a highly effective treatment option for chronic sinusitis and can provide long-term relief from symptoms such as congestion, headaches, and facial pain.
  • Minimally invasive: FESS is a minimally invasive procedure, meaning that it involves small incisions and typically does not require extensive recovery time.
  • Fewer medications: After undergoing FESS, many patients are able to reduce their reliance on medications such as nasal sprays, decongestants, and antibiotics.
  • Improved quality of life: FESS can help patients to breathe more easily, sleep better, and participate more fully in their daily activities, leading to an overall improved quality of life.
  • Reduced risk of complications: Compared to traditional sinus surgery, FESS has a lower risk of complications such as bleeding and infection.
  • Outpatient procedure: FESS is often performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients can go home the same day as the surgery and typically experience a faster recovery time.
  • Safe and well-tolerated: FESS is a safe and well-tolerated procedure with a low rate of complications.
  • Can treat a variety of sinus-related conditions: In addition to chronic sinusitis, FESS can be used to treat other sinus-related conditions such as nasal polyps and deviated septum.

Risks of FESS

However, like any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with FESS. While these risks are usually minimal, it is important to be aware of them. Risks of FESS can include:

  • Bleeding: This is the most common complication of FESS and can occur during or after the surgery. Most cases of bleeding are mild and can be managed with medication, but in rare cases, additional surgery may be required to control the bleeding.
  • Infection: Any surgical procedure carries a risk of infection, and FESS is no exception. Patients are typically given antibiotics before and after the surgery to help prevent infection, but it can still occur.
  • Damage to surrounding structures: Because FESS involves the use of small instruments to remove tissue and polyps, there is a risk of damage to surrounding structures such as the eyes or brain. However, this is an extremely rare complication.
  • Anesthesia complications: FESS requires anesthesia, which carries its own risks. These can include allergic reactions, breathing problems, and other complications, although serious complications are rare.
  • Recurrence of symptoms: While FESS can provide long-term relief for chronic sinusitis and related symptoms, there is a chance that symptoms may recur over time. This may require additional treatments or surgery.
  • Loss of sense of smell: In rare cases, FESS can lead to a loss of the sense of smell. This is typically temporary but can be permanent in some cases.
  • Nasal obstruction: Some patients may experience nasal obstruction or congestion after FESS, although this is usually temporary and resolves on its own.

It is important to note that while these risks do exist, they are relatively rare and most patients who undergo FESS experience a successful outcome with few complications.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, FESS can provide significant benefits for patients suffering from chronic sinusitis and related symptoms. However, there are also risks associated with the procedure that should be carefully considered before making the decision to undergo surgery. By weighing the potential benefits against the risks and consulting with a doctor to address any concerns or questions, patients can make an informed decision about whether or not FESS is the right choice for them. Ultimately, FESS can have a positive impact on a patient’s quality of life and provide long-term relief for chronic sinusitis and related symptoms.

Lee A. Kleiman a doctor at Anne Arundel ENT

Dr. Lee A. Kleiman is a double board certified ENT & plastic surgeon at Anne Arundel ENT in Annapolis, Maryland known for his superior clinical outcomes in all Surgical and Non-Surgical ENT, specializing in Sinus Care, Voice and Swallowing, Rhinoplasty and Revision Rhinoplasty, and Facelifts and Non-surgical Aesthetic. He also continues to attend conferences internationally and nationally to keep abreast of the latest treatments and technology.