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What is Involved in Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?

If you struggle with chronic sinusitis, functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) may be able to help alleviate your congestion and other symptoms and prevent them from reoccurring.

In this blog, ear, nose, and throat specialist Dr. Cecil Yeung of Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute will explain what’s involved with this procedure.

What is FESS?

It’s a minimally invasive procedure that unblocks the sinus openings into the nose. These air pockets can become swollen, blocked and infected, which prevents the normal drainage of mucus. Mucus and pus can build up, causing uncomfortable symptoms that, in the case of chronic sinusitis (sinus infection), can continue for months.

When is FESS performed?

FESS is performed if you have chronic sinusitis, which lasts more than 12 weeks despite attempts to treat it. Medication is usually the first form of treatment recommended, but it doesn’t always provide enough relief. This is especially true if an underlying structural issue is causing your sinuses and nasal passages to become blocked.

For example, nasal polyps – small, noncancerous growths – can cause this area to become persistently blocked. A deviated septum – a crooked or off-center wall that separates your two nostrils – can also contribute to chronic sinusitis.

What is involved in FESS?

This procedure can be performed under general anesthesia or using local anesthesia with sedation depending on your particular needs and the specifics of your surgery.

FESS is performed by using an endoscope – a thin, flexible lighted tube that allows your doctor to illuminate and magnify the nasal and sinus areas. He or she will use instruments to enlarge the drainage pathways of the sinuses, clearing out mucus and pus and allowing it to drain freely without building up in the future.

If you have nasal polyps or a deviated septum, your doctor can also correct these during your procedure to help reduce the chances of another chronic sinus infection.

What are the advantages of FESS?

This procedure has many advantages, including the following:

  • Minimally invasive: No facial incisions are required for this type of surgery since it’s performed through the nostrils.
  • Improved visibility for the surgeon: The endoscope allows your surgeon to get a clear, magnified view of your sinuses and nasal passageways so he or she can precisely guide the instruments used.
  • Less likelihood of packing: With traditional open sinus procedures, there’s usually post-surgery bleeding that requires your nose to be packed with gauze. This usually isn’t necessary with FESS.
  • Less pain: If you feel any pain after your procedure, it will probably be minimal. It’s usually a dull, achy pain that can be relieved with medication.
  • Quick recovery: Usually your nose will feel stuffy and congested for a few days, and most patients experience a quick and easy recovery.
  • Ability to have other issues corrected at the same time: If you have nasal polyps, they can be removed at the same time. Your doctor can also correct a deviated septum, and if this procedure is performed, splints may be needed.
  • Effective results: Since the procedure allows your doctor to clear and enlarge your nasal passageways, you’ll experience relief from congestion, postnasal drip and other symptoms associated with sinusitis.

Where can I get FESS performed in Houston?

Dr. Cecil Yeung of Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute has more than 20 years of experience treating sinus disorders. He specializes in minimally invasive procedures that provide relief while minimizing recovery time. Dr. Yeung pioneered the use of FESS in Houston and has performed more than 4,000 sinus surgeries with exceptional results. His success rate is much lower than the national average, and he’s also taught his techniques to many other area doctors.

Dr. Yeung is well respected for combining the highest level of technical expertise and precision with compassionate, patient-centered care.

If you’re experiencing congestion or other symptoms of chronic sinusitis and want to learn more about whether FESS could help you, make an appointment today with Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute.

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