Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is a common surgical method to treat chronic sinus infections.
The providers at AAENT will use a magnifying endoscope inserted through the nostrils to see and remove affected tissue and bone.
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is a common surgical method to treat chronic sinus infections. In a FESS procedure, Drs. Kleiman, Meek, or Wachal would use a magnifying endoscope inserted through the nostrils to see and remove affected tissue and bone. This is a surgery performed through the nostrils with an endoscope.
Did You Know?
An endoscope is a thin rod affixed with a light source. In addition, our otolaryngologists at AAENT use a specialized surgical CT navigation system in all of their endoscopic sinus surgery procedures that enables them to accurately place their instruments in the sinus cavity, even in patients who have undergone previous sinus surgery, or have extensive polyps.
With this aid, the surgeons use thin instruments to remove blockages, such as polyps and scar tissue so that your nose and sinuses can function normally. They can also straighten the septum and/or reduce the size of the turbinates (structures on the inside walls of the nostrils) which may be contributing to your symptoms. In addition to reducing chronic sinus infections and therefore sinus headaches, endoscopic sinus surgery also improves breathing and your sense of smell. When performing sinus surgery, we rarely use packing in the sinus procedures. Instead, bleeding is stopped by cautery, or CO2 laser, and ointment. Our philosophy is by not obstructing the sinus with packing, the patient is able to irrigate the sinuses earlier and achieve a better result. Drs. Kleiman, Meek and Wachal have successfully used this approach in thousands of cases.
When is Sinus Surgery Necessary?
Most patients with chronic sinus infections don’t need surgery. Medical treatment and lifestyle changes usually work or keep symptoms under control. But if the changes don’t work, surgery may be the best alternative. Surgery to treat a chronic sinus infection is usually performed if medical treatment hasn’t worked. Only you and your doctor can decide if surgery is the best alternative for you. It’s important to work with your doctor to get the treatment that’s best for you or your family member
What should I expect with FESS?
Today, Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) is one of the most common surgical methods to treat chronic sinus infections. Before the FESS was developed, surgeons cut directly into the outside of the face to find the problem and remove it, increasing infection risk and recovery time. FESS is a more precise, less invasive way to open the sinuses and help restore you to better health. It is performed through the nostrils under general anesthesia.
At the end of your sinus surgery, your doctor may also use the innovative Hydrodebrider™ System. This special device delivers a powered spray to “wash out” your sinuses, helping to remove the bacteria associated with chronic sinus infections.
Once the procedure is finished, temporary nasal packing will be placed in your nose to support the newly opened sinus passages and to absorb excess fluid while your tissues heal. If your doctor uses traditional nasal packing, it will have to be removed by your doctor after surgery, which can be painful. Medtronic offers dissolvable nasal packing that is gradually resorbed by the body and doesn’t require removal.
What is the Recovery time?
Your recovery time depends on your overall health and which specific sinus procedures you have (eg. ethmoidectomy, maxillary antrostomy, septoplasty). You will probably be able to return to work or school in several days to a week, and to your normal routine in about 3 weeks, but this may vary. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how best to care for yourself to help speed recovery.
How much pain is there with this surgery?
Every patient tolerates pain differently. Most patients manage sinus surgery pain with oral pain pills. Your doctor can tell you what to expect, based on the type of surgery you have. Facial swelling or bruising is rare, but the inside of your nose will be swollen and sore for a while. This may make breathing through your nose difficult for about two weeks.
It can be painful when your doctor removes the nasal packing from your nose at a follow-up appointment after surgery. This is because tissue and fluid inside your nose can stick to traditional packing material as the nose heals. Medtronic offers dissolvable nasal packing that may help the inside of your nose heal faster1 and is gradually resorbed by the body, so you don’t have to endure the painful removal of traditional nasal packing.