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UR Medicine / Otolaryngology (ENT) / 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.