What is Sinus Surgery

Sinuses and its function:

Sinuses are cavities filled with air within the skull bone and it is lined by a glandular epithelium known as the ‘mucosa’. These lining tissues will contain many glands which secrete mucus and it will drain into the nasal cavity through a passage linking the sinuses and the nasal cavity. Apart from providing lightweight to the skull bone and helping to add a designated tone to the voice, the sinuses are also helpful in preventing organisms, dust and other particles from entering the respiratory system through the functioning of the mucus and expelling the trapped material and organisms to the outside through the work of microscopic tentacles known as ‘cilia’.

Causes for sinus blockage:

Usually, the mucus secreted from the sinuses is watery and thus flows without obstruction to the nasal cavity. The amount of mucus formed would also be of moderate amounts so as to avoid any blockage. But, in certain instances, the sinuses can get blocked and thus may lead to an inflammation of the sinuses. Some of the reasons for such blockages would be,


*Allergic reactions

*Genetic susceptibility

*Narrowing of the draining passages

*Thickened mucus secretion

*Presence of a polyp at the site of the drain

*Traumatic disruption to the sinuses or else to the passages…etc.

In any event, once the sinuses are blocked or inflammation sets in, the lining tissues will swell and produce a secretion which will be thick and sometimes purulent in case of infections. This can give rise to many symptoms and in certain instances the condition could be recurrent.

Indications for surgery:

In most instances, the doctors would be able to relieve the sinus infections and related symptoms by using medications but, in certain instances, medications and supportive treatment might only be effective for few instances and it would be a matter of time for another recurrence. Thus, in such instances, your doctor might recommend a ‘sinus surgery’.

The procedure:

Sinus surgeries are common nowadays and are known to be a safe surgical procedure. It usually is done under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure and will take about few hours depending on the interventions that are made.

The surgery will be performed using an ‘endoscopic’ device and therefore would not have any external incisions and the recovery would be much faster. The process will remove parts of the inflamed or over grown lining of the sinuses and at times will improve the draining of mucus through re-creation of the passages. In certain instances, a polyp which is obstructing the opening of the drain might be removed and reconstruction of the nasal septum or else cropping of the excessive nasal protrusions may also be undertaken.

Post-op period:

Following the surgery, a tight nasal pack would be placed in the nose and this would act as a pressure dressing to reduce the amount of bleeding that may take place. External dressings would also be done and it’s quite common to remove these dressings frequently in the first 24 hours as it gets soaked from blood. The nasal pack can be removed within few days according to your surgeon and he will also prescribe you medications to alleviate pain and to reduce the post surgical inflammation.

The surgery does carry several complications as do all other surgeries and some of them would be bleeding, recurrent sinus blockage, nerve damage, damage to the eye, penetration injury into the brain cavity, changes in the tone of the voice…etc. It should be remembered that these complications are rare and in experienced hands with adequate follow up, these can even be rarer.