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Endoscopic Sinus Surgery and Relief from Sinus Pain

Many people who suffer from sinus pain can be helped with traditional therapy or over-the-counter preparations. Unfortunately, medical treatment is not always effective.

In these more severe cases, endoscopic sinus surgery can often provide relief.

Symptoms

The sinuses are four pairs of cavities located in the bones adjacent to the eyes and nose. They aid in the respiratory process. When they become infected, they do not function properly and can actually impede breathing. More serious complications, like asthma, can develop if the sinuses are not appropriately treated.

  • Pressure in the face
  • Nasal congestion
  • Trouble breathing
  • Postnasal (into the back of the throat) drip
  • Headaches
  • Cough
Millions of Americans suffer from sinusitis, a condition where the sinus cavities become infected and fail to drain properly. Chronic infection and pain may affect job performance, concentration and the ability to fully enjoy life.

Technical Advances

Sinus surgery was not always successful in the past. While the large sinus cavities could be drained, the instruments usually failed to reach the small sinus areas where disease originated. Change came with the endoscope, a small, tubular instrument fitted with optical viewing and lighting systems.

Using the nasal endoscope, physicians can see and operate inside previously unreachable sinus cavities. Special enhancements allow them to remove any blockage and diseased sinus tissue. Physicians can now use the endoscope to restore the ventilation needed for proper drainage fluids and improved breathing.

Although endoscopic surgery does not guarantee a cure, clinical studies show it does significantly improve symptoms for most patients with:

  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Cough or colds that don’t go away
  • Persistent allergies
  • Nasal obstruction/polyps
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Frequent headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Bad odor in the nose
  • Chronic hoarseness
  • Chronic nasal discharge

In addition to more thorough and precise sinus care, other benefits include:

  • The ability to perform sinus surgery on an outpatient basis
  • A decrease in the removal of healthy tissue
  • Less bleeding and fewer complications
  • Rapid relief from symptoms
  • Quicker recovery due to better air flow

Examination and Recommendation

A thorough evaluation and examination must precede our recommendation for endoscopic sinus surgery. It may include x-rays and computer tomography (CT) scans to evaluate your present condition. If surgery is indicated, the procedure will be carefully explained before scheduling a time and date.

The Surgical Procedure

Endoscopic sinus surgery is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. Aspirin or aspirin-like products should be avoided for 1-2 weeks prior to and after surgery, unless otherwise indicated. Before surgery, you will receive detailed written instructions regarding your post-surgical care. Call at any time with questions.

You will experience some discomfort and bleeding following the procedure. The oozing may continue for 24 to 48 hours. For this reason, Tylenol should be used to relieve the pain; however, sometimes stronger medication is required. Following surgery, there will be some blood and mucus drainage from your nose. It might be clear or mixed with old, dark blood. Hot showers may help loosen secretions and decrease congestion.

Although rare, you may experience swelling around the eyes for 24 to 48 hours. Swelling inside the nose will also make you feel congested for a few days. Low grade fever (less than 101 degrees F or 38.3 degrees C ) is common after a surgical procedure. It can also be managed with Tylenol and by increasing the intake of liquids, which will help you loosen secretions.

Sinus Windows and Relief from a Child’s Chronic Sinus Problems

When suffered by a child, symptoms of a sinus infection may be subtle. Some of a child’s symptoms may be sinus infections or postnasal drip, night cough, headaches, tenderness when touching the area over the sinuses and general tiredness. If these symptoms are chronic, the child may require sinus windows. A sinus window, or antrostomy, is a small opening into the sinus which allows for better drainage.

Symptoms

The sinuses are four pairs of cavities located in the bones adjacent to the eyes and nose. They aid in the respiratory process. When they become infected, they do not function properly and can actually impede breathing.

Some symptoms of sinus disorders include:

  • Pressure in the face
  • Nasal congestion
  • Trouble breathing
  • Postnasal (into the back of the throat) drip
  • Headaches
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Cough
Sinus infections are one of the most common problems treated by physicians. While some symptoms of sinus infection are physically and visually evident, others are more subtle. All are caused by infections which prohibit the sinuses from drainage properly. Sinus x-ray may be helpful in diagnosing your child’s condition.

Technical Advances

After a child has been treated for recurrent sinus infections, the doctor may determine that it is necessary to drain the mucus and fluid that has collected. This allows air into the affected area so that the infection can clear. To do this, the doctor must make a small opening into the left and/or right sinus cavities. The openings are made through the thin bone separating the nose and the sinus. They are made inside the nose to prevent any outside cutting or scars. These openings are called sinus windows.

Once the sinus is drained, the openings may remain for four months to one year – sometimes longer. This continues to make it easy for the child’s sinuses to drain and reduces the possibility of recurrent infection.

The Surgical Procedure

After examination, your child’s condition and the possibility for a surgical procedure will be explained to you. You will also be provided with written descriptions of the procedure and follow-up home care. Please contact us at any time with questions or for clarification.

Antrostomy, the sinus window procedure, is performed on an outpatient basis using general anesthesia. The child may feel stopped up when the procedure is completed and a gauze pad will be taped under the nose to absorb any blood. This pad may need to be changed two or three times before going home. The doctor may order nose drops to reduce swelling inside the nose. Swelling around the eyes is uncommon, but possible. The child will probably be irritable and groggy until the anesthesia wears off.

Once at home, encourage the child to drink lots of fluids to loosen the secretions. Any pain in the nose or a fever should be controlled with Tylenol. Also, some bleeding may occur for the first 24 to 48 hours. This should be stopped with gauze pads. If it is copious, please call immediately. Intermittent bleeding and mucus drainage from the nose is common for about two weeks. If it becomes extreme, call our offices.

Strenuous activity is to be avoided for about ten days, but the child may play outdoors after the second day. Nose blowing and sneezing should also be avoided for the 10-14 days. If the child can’t avoid sneezing, encourage them to sneeze with their mouth open and not to suppress the sneeze.

The child may go back to school when they feel ready, usually four to seven days after surgery. The child should return for a follow-up examination in 3-4 weeks after the surgery. Please call for an appointment.