Sinus surgery is a procedure that’s reserved for patients experiencing severe to chronic symptoms like nasal blockages, congestion, and pressure. It’s standard treatment for patients experiencing chronic sinusitis or recurrent sinus infections that do not respond to medical treatment, such as antibiotics, rinses, nasal steroid sprays or other medications.
Just the mere mention of surgery is enough to bring up anxious thoughts and misconceptions about the procedure to make some individuals delay treatment. Untreated, sinus infections often become worse and can lead to additional health concerns that interfere with breathing, overall health, and quality of life.
Unfortunately, there are myths about sinus surgery that make it difficult for prospective patients to understand the true benefits of sinus surgery and how it can improve their health and lives. Continue reading to learn the truth about the top five myths about sinus surgery so you can make the best-informed decision about your situation.
What Is Sinus Surgery?
The formal name for sinus surgery is sinusotomy. The procedure is done to treat issues that block the sinuses and prevent proper drainage. Sinus surgery is often recommended for chronic sinusitis or recurrent sinus infections that do not improve with self-care, antibiotics, nasal steroid sprays, or other medications. Some common reasons for needing sinus surgery include:
- Blockages in the nasal passages or sinus cavities caused by genetic, damage and other structural abnormalities
- Chronic inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages, also referred to as chronic sinusitis lasting more than 12 weeks that doesn’t respond favorably to antibiotics and nasal sprays
- Nasal polyps are non-cancerous growths that can block sinus passages
- Recurrent sinus infections caused by the common cold, flu, allergies, and other health conditions
- Deviated septum is a condition where the bone and cartilage that separates the nostrils is shifted to one side
- Obstructions in the sinus airways that prevent the sinuses from draining
- Loss of sense of taste or smell due
- Uncontrolled chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis
- Trauma or injury to the sinuses
Sinus doctors in Los Angeles, like expert physician, Dr. Alen Cohen, perform a thorough evaluation and carefully reviews symptoms, medical history, and diagnostic results to determine the most suitable treatment options, including minimally invasive procedures before recommending patients for surgery.
5 Myths About Sinus Surgery Debunked
Myth 1: Sinus surgery is only for severe cases.
Truth: While sinus surgery is highly effective for severe cases, it’s also used to treat chronic sinusitis and other sinus-related conditions that do not respond to other treatments.
Myth 2: Sinus surgery is painful.
Truth: While any surgery can be associated with some discomfort, modern sinus surgery techniques are typically less invasive and less painful than traditional methods.
Myth 3: Sinus surgery leaves noticeable scars.
Truth: Sinus surgery is performed through the nostrils, leaving no visible scars.
Myth 4: Sinus surgery causes a loss of sense of smell.
Truth: Sinus surgery improves sense of smell by opening blocked sinus passages, not causing the loss of it.
Myth 5: Sinus surgery is risky.
Truth: Sinus surgery is a very safe procedure with a low risk of complications when done by an expert.
Additionally, sinus surgery does not take a long time to recover from. Depending on the type of surgery performed, most patients feel comfortable enough to safely resume their normal activities shortly after their procedures. Sinus surgery is not just for adults, it is commonly recommended for children. The procedure type and recovery may vary depending on the age of the patient and condition being treated.
Types of Sinus Surgery
Depending on various factors, including the patient’s age, health, symptoms, medical history, etc., sinus doctors in Los Angeles perform the following types of surgical procedures for sinus infections.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) is the most common type of sinus surgery. It is a minimally invasive procedure that uses an endoscope, a thin tube with a small camera and light on the end, to access and clear blocked sinus passages. The endoscope allows Dr. Cohen to see inside the nose and sinuses so he can remove obstructions, such as nasal polyps or inflamed tissue that prevent normal sinus drainage.
FESS is typically performed under general anesthesia and can take between 1-2 hours depending on the complexity of the case. During the surgery, Dr. Cohen makes small incisions in the nostrils and uses an endoscope to remove obstructions and open the sinus passages. The procedure is done through the nostrils, so no external incision is required.
FESS is effective in treating chronic sinusitis, recurrent sinus infections, and other sinus-related conditions that are not responsive to other medical treatments. It is also effective in alleviating nasal congestion, facial pressure and pain, and difficulty breathing through the nose.
Minimally Invasive Image Guided Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (MIGSS) involves Dr. Cohen using advanced imaging technology to create a 3D map of the patient’s sinuses so he can accurately identify and remove blocked or diseased nasal tissues. MIGSS is more effective than traditional sinus surgeries (i.e. FESS) and has fewer complications and better outcomes. As such it’s Dr. Cohen’s recommendation for patient with advanced polyps or severe deviated septums.
Balloon Sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small balloon to open blocked sinus passages in the office under local anesthesia in under 30 minutes.
Ethmoidectomy involves the removal of the ethmoid sinus, which is located between the eyes.
Sphenoidotomy involves the opening of the sphenoid sinus, which is located at the back of the nose.
Septoplasty corrects a deviated septum, a condition that causes defects or crookedness in the wall that separates the nostrils (the septum). A severe deviated septum can cause difficulty breathing, frequent sinus infections, and other complications. The procedure involves Dr. Cohen repositioning and reshaping the septum to straighten it. Septoplasty can be done alone or in conjunction with other procedures.
Frontal Sinus Surgery involves the removal of the frontal sinus.
It is important to note that the best treatment option depends on the individual case and the underlying cause of the sinus issue. Also, some surgical sinus procedures are not a cure for all sinus related problems. Some patients require additional procedures or ongoing medical treatments to manage their symptoms.
Don’t let misconceptions about sinus surgery keep you from getting the treatment you need for relief so you can breathe easier. To learn more about sinus surgery and other treatment options, contact world-renowned sinus specialist, Dr. Alen Cohen, at the Southern California Sinus Institute at (818) 888-7878.