Friday, April 13, 2007

Traditional sinus surgery for sinusitis

Traditional sinus surgery for sinusitis

In traditional sinus surgery, an opening is made into the sinus. The opening may be made from inside the mouth or through the skin of the face. See an illustration of the locations of the facial (paranasal) sinuses.

* There are a number of possible approaches depending on the location of the infected sinus and what the doctor prefers.
* Working through the incision, the doctor can remove tissue that is blocking the sinus and preventing drainage.
* More extensive procedures may involve removing the sinus or leaving a temporary opening to help drain the infection. Removal of the sinus is usually considered only when the infection has spread into the eye socket or brain cavity.

Most of these procedures require admission to a hospital.
What To Expect After Surgery

Recovery from surgery may involve:

* Packing the nose with gauze to absorb blood and other drainage. The packing may be changed several times a day or left in place for a few days.
* Using saltwater nasal washes (saline lavage or irrigation) to keep the sinuses moist.
* Avoiding activities such as blowing the nose, strenuous exercise, and bending forward for a few days.
* Using a humidifier to keep room air moist, especially in the bedroom.

Why It Is Done

Traditional sinus surgery may be done if:

* Medications have failed to cure chronic sinusitis.
* Endoscopic surgery is unsuccessful. For more information, see Endoscopic surgery for sinusitis.
* There are complications related to sinusitis.

How Well It Works

Traditional surgery is an effective method of treating chronic sinusitis or sinusitis that has caused complications.

Serious risks include:

* Heavy bleeding.
* Leakage of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
* Inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain (meningitis).
* Blindness.
* Death.

What To Think About

Endoscopic sinus surgery is now preferred over traditional sinus surgery. It is less invasive, less expensive, and has a lower rate of complications. 1, 2 For more information, see Endoscopic surgery for sinusitis.

Surgical treatment of sinusitis should be considered only when more conservative approaches, such as home treatment and medications, have failed.