Trouble breathing through your nose, constant congestion, frequent sinus infections, snoring, nasal polyps – these are all symptoms and conditions that can significantly impact your quality of life, creating problems during both waking and sleeping hours. When these problems are long-term, it may be a sign of an underlying sinus disorder that warrants surgical treatment. One treatment option that may be recommended is an advanced procedure called endoscopic sinus surgery.
In this blog, the Atlanta ENT physicians at the Sinus Center of Atlanta will provide a simple overview of what endoscopic sinus surgery is, how it works and its advantages over traditional sinus surgery.
What is endoscopic sinus surgery?
Endoscopic sinus surgery, also referred to as functional endoscopic sinus surgery or FESS, is a procedure that is used to restore normal sinus drainage and treat various causes of nasal obstruction. It is an advanced surgery that’s performed using an endoscope, or a small camera, which provides the sinus surgeon with a detailed view of the nasal passages and sinus cavities without needing to make any skin incisions. Computer image guided systems are available to assist when needed.
When is FESS recommended?
There are a handful of conditions that might warrant an endoscopic sinus surgery. However, it’s important to note that this procedure is not the first treatment option employed. Rather, it’s only considered when conservative therapies such as antibiotics, nasal sprays, antihistamines and decongestants/expectorants have already been exhausted without success. Minimally invasive procedures such as Balloon Sinuplasty are also offered first for appropriate patients.
Endoscopic sinus surgery may be recommended when nonsurgical treatment options fail to produce effective relief for conditions including:
How does endoscopic sinus surgery work?
During FESS, a thin, magnifying camera called an endoscope will be inserted through the patient’s nostril while the patient is sedated with general or local anesthesia. With the endoscope, the surgeon is able to see the nasal passages and sinus cavities up close with great detail. With this access, the surgeon can identify and accurately target the areas where nasal obstruction or drainage issues are occurring. Specialized tools will then be introduced in order to carefully remove tissue or small amounts of bone, effectively opening up the blocked nasal passages and sinuses and restoring normal drainage. The entire procedure is performed through the nostrils, which is one of its numerous advantages over traditional sinus surgery.
What are the advantages of FESS over traditional sinus surgery?
This advanced sinus procedure provides a number of advantages over traditional sinus surgery. Benefits include:
- No skin incisions – the procedure is performed entirely through the nostrils, meaning no open facial incisions or scarring
- Performed with camera-guided precision – the endoscope allows your surgeon to view the sinuses and nasal passages up close and make very delicate, precise repairs in places where tissue or bone are causing problems
- Faster recovery – since there are no skin incisions and surgical repairs are limited to only the targeted problem areas, there is less post-operative discomfort and patients enjoy a faster recovery, returning to work in 2-7 days.
- Effective, long term relief – most patients experience significantly improved sinus function and long-lasting relief from sinusitis and other causes of nasal obstruction
How can I find out if I’m a candidate for endoscopic sinus surgery in Atlanta?
If you are struggling with chronic or recurring sinusitis or other anatomical issues such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum that are leading to nasal obstruction, you may be a good candidate for FESS. The first step to learning more about your treatment options and whether endoscopic sinus surgery can help is to schedule a consultation with the experienced ENT doctors at the Sinus Center of Atlanta. We offer three convenient practice locations in Buckhead, Fayetteville and Stockbridge. Get started today by requesting an appointment or contacting our office by phone.
Still not sure whether your sinus problem is severe or whether it warrants a medical evaluation? Take our short Sinus Evaluation Quiz to gauge how your sinuses and nasal problems may be impacting your quality of life.