Chronic sinus problems can cause pain and misery, and if medications aren’t effective enough, your doctor may recommend sinus surgery. Surgery can help you achieve long-term relief, but problems after sinus surgery can occur in some instances.
In this blog, Dr. Cecil Yeung of Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute will explain some of the common problems after sinus surgery, as well as how you can minimize your risk.
What is sinus surgery?
If you have sinus issues, treatment will usually begin with conservative, non-invasive options such as allergy medications, antihistamines, or nasal steroid sprays. In some cases, however, these types of treatments don’t provide enough relief. If there’s an underlying issue – such as the presence of nasal polyps (non-cancerous growths on the lining of your nasal passage or sinuses) or a deviated septum (a crooked or off-center partition that divides your two nostrils) – medications may not provide long-term relief since the issue still remains.
Several types of sinus surgery are available to help make your sinuses drain better. Depending on the cause of your blockage, a surgeon can remove infected, swollen, or damaged tissue, excess bone, or nasal polyps. By eliminating these obstructions, the surgeon will make it easier for mucus to easily drain and help you avoid blockages.
Common types of sinus surgery include:
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) – This surgery can be effective in treating chronic sinusitis (long-term inflammation and infection of the sinuses) as well as other issues, such as a deviated septum. The surgeon utilizes an endoscope – a very thin lighted tube – to be able to directly examine the openings into the sinuses. Small instruments are then utilized to remove obstructions, and because the surgery is performed through the nostrils, patients won’t have external scars.
- Balloon Sinuplasty – This procedure enables the surgeon to insert a tiny balloon catheter through the nostril. It’s gently inflated in order to expand and open up the sinus passage. In addition, saline solution is sprayed into the sinuses to clear out mucus and pus that has built up, and the balloon is then deflated and carefully removed.
What are some complications associated with sinus surgery?
Sinus surgeries, like any procedure, do carry some risk of complications. Generally, with less-invasive surgery methods such as FESS or balloon sinuplasty, you may experience some mild swelling and sometimes crusting after the procedure.
In some cases, patients may experience some of the following complications:
- Bleeding – This usually occurs within the first 24 hours after surgery. A blood clot may form, and in some cases, it may need to be removed by your doctor. Scar tissue may form as a result.
- An impaired sense of taste or smell – Usually when the nasal passages are cleared, patients have an improved sense of smell and taste. The opposite can also sporadically occur.
- Nasal obstruction – Cartilage may move after surgery, and in rare cases, it can cause a persistent blockage. Small scar bands may also form and need to be removed.
- Numbness – Patients may feel some numbness in the front upper teeth, lip, or nose.
- Changed appearance – The septum helps form the bridge of the nose, and although it’s not common, surgery on the septum can cause a change in appearance.
- Pain and dryness – If surgery involves the reduction of nasal turbinates (structures on the side wall of the inside of the nose), some patients may feel a sensation of dryness or pain afterwards, although this is rare.
How can you reduce your chances of problems after sinus surgery?
There’s no way to completely eliminate the possibility of problems after sinus surgery, but many post-operative issues can be avoided by a skilled, experienced surgeon. Dr. Cecil Yeung is a top sinus specialist with more than 20 years of experience in diagnosing and treating the underlying causes of chronic sinusitis. In fact, he pioneered the use of functional endoscopic sinus surgery in the Houston area and has been recognized by his peers, hospitals, and professional societies for his high level of innovation and skill.
He has performed more than 4,000 sinus surgeries and has an average re-do rate of less than 1% – far less than the national average of 30%. In fact, Dr. Yeung has directly taught FESS techniques to many other doctors in the area.
In addition to his technical skill, Dr. Yeung provides compassionate care combined with the convenience of offering everything from your initial consultation to your surgical procedure under one roof.
If you’re having sinus problems such as chronic sinusitis, make an appointment with Dr. Yeung today. He’ll help diagnose the underlying cause of your issues and develop a treatment plan to help you get the relief you deserve.