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Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

What Conditions Are Treated With This Surgery?

Last modified: 
22/03/2012 - 12:22

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Endoscopic sinus surgery is used to treat:

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is a common condition that usually is easy to treat with medication. It feels much like a head cold, with a blocked, stuffy, or runny nose.

Sinusitis is actually a swelling of the inner lining of the sinuses. This swelling causes the openings of the nose to be blocked so that the mucus inside can no longer drain out. When the mucus cannot drain, the pressure of the blocked fluid creates pain in the face and impairs breathing.

For most people, sinusitis is a temporary condition that goes away with simple treatment. If the symptoms continue for a significant period of time without responding to medication, or if the symptoms are especially severe, surgery may bring about permanent relief.

However, surgery for sinusitis is considered a last resort and will not be recommended unless all other courses of treatment have been exhausted over a period of time with little or no results.

Sinusitis can be the result of:

  • A cold that lingers
  • A bacterial or viral infection
  • Swelling due to allergies
  • Having small sinus openings

Deviated Septum

The partition separating the left and right sides of the nose, called the septum, is sometimes crooked. This crooked condition is called a deviated septum. Some people are born with this abnormality, but sometimes it is the result of an injury.

Very few people have a perfectly straight septum, but endoscopic sinus surgery is only recommended for those whose septum is crooked enough to cause significant sinus blockage. The surgery can then straighten the septum and improve breathing.

Polyps

polyp, also called a cyst, is a benign (noncancerous) water-filled swelling about the size of a grape, which develops in the sinuses and causes blockage. They most frequently occur in people who have asthma.

Polyps can sometimes be reduced in size with medication. However, endoscopic sinus surgery has proven to be an excellent method with which to remove polyps and restore normal breathing.

Tumors

tumor is a swelling caused by an uncontrolled growth of cells that creates new tissue. It is not water-filled like a polyp.

A tumor can be noncancerous or cancerous. Tumors in the sinuses are quite uncommon but can sometimes be removed with endoscopic sinus surgery. However, more extensive surgery is often necessary.

Nice To Know

Q. Can endoscopic sinus surgery be performed on children?

A. Endoscopic sinus surgery is a difficult procedure to perform on children because their sinuses are small and not fully developed. When the sinuses have fully developed, sinusitis symptoms sometimes stop on their own. Therefore, unless there is a nasal obstruction such as a polyp, most doctors will prefer to treat a child with medication.

 

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Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

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From Andrew Maynard - Chair of the University of Michigan Department of Environmental Health Sciences, with help from David Faulkner - 2013 Master of Public Health graduate.