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UR Medicine / Otolaryngology (ENT) / Rhinology / Sinus Surgery


Sinus Surgery

What is Sinus Surgery?

Sinus surgery is often performed when medications are ineffective in treating chronic sinus infections. Surgery is usually performed in order to enlarge the openings that drain the sinuses, thereby improving function and decreasing the risk of infection.

Reasons for Sinus Surgery

For most people, sinus infections respond well to home treatments, such as room humidifiers, and medications such as antibiotics, decongestants, nasal steroids and antihistamines. But for individuals who suffer from recurrent sinus infections or persistent infections that are unresponsive to medication, sinus surgery is sometimes the only option.

Types of Sinus Surgery

Our ENT physicians are board certified specialists and are experts in the treatment of chronic sinus conditions. Before performing any sinus surgery, the doctor will order a CAT scan (if you haven't had one previously) to confirm the diagnosis and to examine the sinuses.

Sinus surgery can be performed in various ways, all relatively non-invasive and usually performed on an out-patient basis. Surgeries include:

  • Endoscopic Sinus Surgery. Using an endoscope (a very thin fiber optic tube), the doctor examines the openings into the sinuses, then removes any abnormal and obstructive tissues.
  • Image-guided Surgery. Combines use of a CT scan with endoscopic surgery for greater visual precision. Most helpful in surgeries involving severe infection, previous sinus surgery, or where a patient's sinus anatomy is very unusual.
  • Caldwell Luc Operation. Performed to improve drainage of the maxillary sinus, a cavity beneath the eye, by connecting it to the nose.

What to Expect

Most sinus surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, involve a local or general anesthetic, and are completed in 1-2 hours. Bruising and swelling following surgery depend upon how extensive the operation, but is typically minimal, especially with the endoscopic procedures.

Our Sinus Surgery Experts

Dr. Li-Xing ManDr. Li-Xing Man 

joined the University of Rochester in 2011 as the first fellowship-trained rhinologist in the Rochester area. His clinical practice focuses mainly on sinus and nasal disease. Dr. Man strives to educate his patients regarding their healthcare problems, to tailor cost-effective medical and surgical therapy to the individual, and to involve his patients’ goals and worldview in a team-based, shared decision-making approach to improving their health and well-being. He is adept at both in-office and operating room-based sinonasal procedures, and he is earnest in his attempts to minimize discomfort, side effects, and recovery time.

Dr. Man has a special interest in complementary and integrative medicine approaches to health. He is also one of the few physicians in western New York with expertise in sialendoscopy, a minimally-invasive approach to managing disorders of the submandibular and parotid glands. Dr. Man serves as the program director for the University of Rochester Otolaryngology residency program. He has taught at rhinology and sinus courses both nationally and internationally, and he enjoys preparing the next generation of otolaryngologists to be excellent physicians and healers.


Photo of Dr. Isaac SchmaleDr. Isaac Schmale returned to the University of Rochester in 2020 after finishing his fellowship in rhinology and endoscopic skull base surgery. He completed his internship and residency in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center and is delighted to be back to serve the greater Rochester area and upstate New York. Dr. Schmale is passionate about providing the highest level of nasal and sinus care for patients of all ages. He strives to incorporate a patient-centered approach and shared decision-making process into each office visit. Dr. Schmale is especially interested in revision/complex sinus surgery, novel medical therapies for chronic sinusitis and nasal polyposis, and rhinology education. He is an active teacher and researcher as well, focusing on new technologies in sinus surgery and resident mentorship, nasal polyposis medical therapies, as well as minimally invasive treatments for chronic sinusitis and nasal breathing. Dr Schmale has published and presented nationally on rhinosinusitis and sinus surgery topics, and enjoys staying at the forefront of the field in order to provide the best, individualized care for each patient he sees.