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The sinuses are air-filled spaces at the front of the skull that are connected to the inside of your nose. Sinusitis is an infection of the mucous membrane that lines the sinuses.

It causes symptoms of pain, a blocked nose, discharge, reduced sense of smell and the feeling of mucus at the back of your nose or throat.

Your consultant may treat your sinusitis with antibiotics. If your sinusitis is allergy related you may be able to prevent it by avoiding what triggers your allergy or by taking medication such as antihistamines. For conditions such as polyps in your sinuses your consultant may prescribe nasal steroid spray.

If you continue to experience sinusitis your consultant may recommend functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) to widen the passage between the sinus and your nose so that mucus does not become trapped anymore. This should prevent the sinusitis from coming back.

What happens during endoscopic sinus surgery?

Endoscopic sinus surgery is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but for minor procedure a local anaesthetic and sedation can be used. The operation usually takes between one and two hours.

The operation is performed through your nose and does not result in any facial scars or change to the outside shape of your nose.

Your surgeon will use a small tube with a special lens called an endoscope to examine your each of your nasal passages. They will also use special instruments to remove any polyps and to widen the passages from your sinuses into your nose to allow for normal ventilation and draining.

After your operation

You may have a dressing in each side of your nose to prevent bleeding. These may be a bit uncomfortable and you will need to breath through your mouth. The dressing will be removed before you are discharged.

Your nose may feel blocked for a few weeks after your operation. There may be some blood coloured discharge. You should not blow your nose for at least a week after the operation. Your surgeon will prescribe a nasal spray or drops for you to use and you may be given a course of antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.

You will need to rest at home for one to two weeks. Be sure and discuss any questions about your recovery time or your return to normal activities with your surgeon.

You may need to come back to our Out Patient Department for a follow up assessment two to four weeks after your surgery.

Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following endoscopic sinus surgery. As with any surgery there can be complications:

Specific complications of endoscopic sinus surgery:

  • Infection of the sinuses
  • Damage to the eye
  • Leaking of fluid from the brain

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon?

The Holly Hospital

High Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 5HX

020 8505 3311

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