Sinus Surgery (Pediatric)

What is Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)?

FESS is a technique of using thin rigid optical telescopes, or endoscopes, to perform sinus surgery through the nose.  This technique has revolutionized the surgical treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis.  FESS typically eliminates the need for external incisions and allows for better visualization and magnification of diseased or problem areas.

What does the surgery involve?

 The surgeon will carefully remove chronically inflamed bony partitions, polyps, mucus membranes, and infected secretions in the sinuses, in order to open the sinuses more widely and restore normal function.  Sinus surgery cannot prevent subsequent inflammation from things like viruses, but the swelling is less severe and causes less obstruction.  There is excellent scientific evidence that for the properly selected patient, the great majority of chronic sinusitis symptoms improve significantly after sinus surgery.

What happens during sinus surgery?

Sinus surgery is performed in the operating room under general anesthesia, meaning there is a breathing tube in place, and patients do not feel any pain during the surgery.  Patients are generally comfortable enough to go home the same day.

What can a patient expect after sinus surgery?

Most patients do not experience significant pain after surgery, but it is best to plan for one week recovery time.  Most patients will also be given a course of post-operative medications in order to help the sinuses heal properly.  It is normal to feel stuffy from some of the post-operative swelling.  Some bloody mucus and postnasal drainage are also normal for the first 2 weeks after sinus surgery.  If you develop a persistent nosebleed, please call your surgeon or go to the Emergency Room.  Please begin saline irrigation the first day after surgery.  For the first few weeks after surgery frequent saline irrigation will help things heal better and help you feel more comfortable.

Be sure to ask your surgeon about any specifics regarding nasal packing and important “DO’s and DON’Ts” after sinus surgery.