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When is Sinus Surgery Appropriate?
The official name of this sort of procedure is Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (or FESS to those of us in the biz.) If you have tried everything from sinus yoga to big time antibiotics and steroids and you are still sick, it may be time to consider a more invasive but remarkably effective approach.
The “Functional” part of this surgery indicates that we are helping your sinuses aerated and drain properly, the way they are supposed to. Normally the sinuses are connected through small but efficient openings into the nose. If, for whatever reason (cold, allergy, distorted anatomy), those are not able to allow air in and mucous out you are set up for infection. Mucous pools, bacteria have a playground in which to grow, the infection induces swelling, and the drainage is further blocked. We give all sorts of medications to try to reverse this process. If those meds fail surgery physically unblocks the drainage. Properly draining sinuses are happy sinuses. They function normally again and your chronic infection goes away. For most people, this is a permanent fix too. It is rare that we need to go back in to reopen operated sinuses.
Case Report: retained gutta-percha as a cause for persistent maxillary sinusitis and pain.
Hodnett BL, Ferguson B - F1000Res (2014)
The best news is what patients tell us. The vast majority of patients undergoing FESS have a real improvement in the quality of their lives. And they see their doctors a lot less often.
Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS