Surgical Procedures for Sinusitis

Your doctor may recommend that you undergo sinus surgery if you have:

  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Frequently recurring sinusitis
  • Little or no relief from treatments
  • Developed complications of sinusitis
  • Obstruction of the sinuses by nasal polyps
  • Fungal sinusitis

Surgical treatments include the following:

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)

This operation is performed using an endoscope, a rigid tube with a light on one end. The tube is threaded into your nose and up into the sinus openings. Using this technique, your sinuses can be drained and the sinus openings can be enlarged, allowing better drainage in the future. If polyps (benign growths) are discovered, they can be removed. This type of sinus surgery has a high rate of success and a low rate of complications. However, if complications occur, they may be serious.

Conventional Open Sinus Surgery

Conventional open sinus surgery is also used to enlarge the sinuses for better drainage. Infected sinus linings may be removed during this procedure. Now that FESS is such a successful method, this type of surgery is rarely used. In general, if it is recommended that you have conventional sinus surgery, you should get a second opinion.

Revision Information

  • Bhattacharyya N. Clinical outcomes after endoscopic sinus surgery. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006;6:167-171.

  • Khalil HS, Nunez DA. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery for chronic rhinosinusitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;3:CD004458.

  • Luong A, Marpie BF. Sinus surgery: indications and techniques. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2006;30:217-222.

  • Rakel RE, Bope ET. Conn’s Current Therapy. 54th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Co; 2002.

  • Sinus infection (sinusitis). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/sinusitis/Pages/Index.aspx. Accessed September 12, 2008.