The goal of surgery is to
make drainage of the
sinuses better, usually by removing the blockage and
draining the mucus. This may mean removing:
- Infected, swollen, or damaged
- Bone, to create a wider opening for drainage of mucus from
- Growths (polyps) inside
the nose or sinuses.
- A foreign object that is blocking a nasal or
sinus passage. This usually occurs in children.
Surgery may be the only means of getting a badly blocked,
infected sinus to drain properly. But surgery does not always completely
eliminate sinusitis. Some people may need a second operation.
Surgery is most successful when used along with medicine and home
treatment to prevent future sinusitis. A second surgery and future sinusitis
may be avoided if antibiotics are taken to prevent reinfection.
- Sinusitis: Should I Have Surgery?
Endoscopic surgery is preferred over traditional surgery
for most cases of chronic sinusitis that require surgery. It is less invasive,
less expensive, and has a lower rate of complications.
- Endoscopic surgery may be done to remove small amounts
of bone or other material blocking the sinus openings or to remove growths
(polyps). Normally, a thin, lighted tool called an endoscope is inserted
through the nose so the doctor can see and remove whatever is blocking the
- Sinus surgery may be done when
complications of sinusitis—such as the development of pus in a sinus, infection
of the facial bones, or brain
abscess—have occurred. In this type of surgery, the
doctor makes an opening into the sinus from inside the mouth or through the
skin of the face.
What to think about
people need surgery to treat sinusitis. But you may need surgery if
ALL of these are true:
- Your doctor says that you have chronic
- You've followed what's called "maximum medical
treatment" for 4 to 6 weeks. This means that you've taken medicines and
followed home treatment for at least 4 to 6 weeks. This treatment includes
steroid nasal spray, and other prescription
- You've had a
CT scan of your sinuses after the 4 to 6 weeks of
treatment. It is very important to have the CT scan done after this treatment. Reducing the swelling and infection as
much as possible lets your doctor see what could be causing your
- The CT scan shows that something, such as nasal polyps, is keeping your
sinuses from draining as they should.
You also may need surgery if:
- You have a sinus infection caused by a
fungus. Infections caused by fungus cannot be cleared up with
- You have a serious problem such as an infection that
spreads beyond your sinuses. This is rare.
The extent of the blockage and other problems determine
how extensive your surgery will need to be. Surgery may be limited to removal
of infected tissue or small growths (polyps) inside the nose. More extensive
surgery involves removing pieces of bone to create a wider opening to allow a
sinus to drain.
Sinus surgery is always performed by an ear, nose,
and throat (ENT) specialist (also called an
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology
September 12, 2012
©1995-2012, Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information,
How this information was developed.