The paranasal sinuses are hollow cavities located between the eyes, below the eyes, and above the eyes. Frequently they become infected, especially in conjunction with colds and allergies. Fortunately, these sinus infections almost always resolve with resolution of the cold or allergic condition. Occasionally, the sinus infection persists and requires medication. If the sinus infection does not clear with adequate medical treatment, surgery may become necessary.
Patients with chronic sinusitis may suffer from a number of conditions, including headache or facial pain, congestion, decreased sense of smell, fever, cough, drainage, a hoarse voice, sore throat, ear disease, and visual changes. Surgery usually improves these conditions and is performed while the patient is asleep under general anesthesia. Today, sinus surgery is usually performed using special operating scopes called endoscopes eliminating the need for incisions on the face or mouth.
Postoperatively, patients may have pain in the sinuses and will receive narcotic pain medication to manage this for the first week. Some bleeding or blood-tinged nasal discharge is expected, but rarely bleeding can be profuse and persistent. Rarely, there may be postoperative infection, which will prolong the period of recovery. There have been reports of visual changes following sinus surgery, but these reports are rare. Patients are generally up and about and discharged on the day of surgery.
A series of post-operative appointments with endoscopic nasal cleanings will be necessary for the first couple of months following surgery (usually every two weeks). This is done to ensure proper healing and to avoid infection. You must not miss these follow-up appointments.