12 Things You May Not Know About Endoscopic Surgery
Endoscopic sinus surgery is the traditional method of sinus surgery for chronic sinusitis. It involves removing sinus tissue, or small amounts of bone, to clear obstructions or infections in the nasal passage. This helps restore the natural drainage of mucus. It is typically used as a last resort after antibiotics, steroids, or home remedies have failed.
After surgery, there are the usual instructions that promote healing and prevent complications. But there are a slew of special considerations for sinus surgeries that many people are unaware of.
What You Need To Know
- Your sense of smell may be diminished or nonexistent for 1 to 2 months
- You’ll need to rest for up to 3 weeks before you can return to a normal routine
- You may have constipation or strained bowel movements due to the anesthesia
- Avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory pain medications for at least 3 weeks after surgery until your doctor approves it
- Sleeping upright, such as in a reclining chair or by raising your head with a stack of pillows
- Avoid blowing your nose for two weeks
- Try not to sneeze and if you do, using your mouth
- Use alcohol-free mouthwash, or salt water, to rinse your mouth out before going to bed to keep your mouth free of bacteria
- Monitoryour vision for any changes, any pressure, or bruising around the eyes
- Avoid travel by airplane for at least 2 weeks after surgery so the air pressure doesn’t affect your sinuses
- Smokers need to refrain from smoking at least 3 weeks prior and 4 weeks after surgery
- Change your drip pad when necessary, and using nasal rinses to make sure your sinuses stay clear
Many of these considerations involve seeing your doctor to make sure everything is progressing properly. Unfortunately, these follow ups and visits don’t tend to be covered by insurance. Your doctor may also recommend a follow up surgery if they don’t feel that your recovery is up to their standard. It can feel overwhelming to have so much to keep track of with an endoscopic surgery. Thankfully, a newer, noninvasive alternative procedure is becoming more common called balloon sinuplasty.
With balloon sinuplasty a small balloon is inserted into the openings of the affected sinus and expanded. This provides an outlet for backed up mucus to flow properly. Since it only moves tissue around, there’s much less bleeding. The procedure can also be performed with local anesthesia, so recovery is less cumbersome. You would have to do some maintenance after the surgery that’s similar to an endoscopic surgery, but the timeline of recovery is much shorter.
Most people can get back to work within 24 to 72 hours, and back to their normal routines in a week or two. Compared to the weeks and possibly months recovering from endoscopic sinus surgery, recovery for a balloon sinuplasty is a breeze. Most patients only have one or two follow ups with their doctors. They usually don’t require further procedures to maintain their sinus health either.
Chronic sinusitis can make it hard to live your life to the fullest, especially if nothing seems to help. If your nasal sprays and prescription medicines aren’t giving you the relief you need, a sinus surgery may be in your future. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the anxieties surrounding sinus surgery, talk to your doctor about balloon sinuplasty to see if it’s right for you.