Chronic sinusitis is characterized by swelling and inflammation of the sinuses (the spaces inside your head and nose) for periods longer than three months, despite treatment. Fortunately, the condition is manageable and treatable, and there are two chronic sinusitis treatment options: endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) and balloon sinuplasty.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery vs. Balloon Sinuplasty – How Do They Work?
Endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) is the traditional treatment for chronic sinusitis. It involves cutting out any infected tissue in the sinuses using a guided catheter. Notably, the technique leaves tissues that take relatively long to heal and require special care and maintenance to facilitate recovery and prevent re-infection.
Balloon sinuplasty is a relatively new alternative to ESS. It involves inserting small balloons into the sinuses and inflating them to reopen the clogged and collapsed sections. This technique aims to leave as much intact as possible, unlike ESS, which entails cutting out infected tissue.
Both surgical techniques necessitate similar care and maintenance for recovery, such as managing bleeding, using nasal rinses, and avoiding heavy chores. However, their recovery timelines vary. Here is a brief comparison of both techniques’ recovery considerations and timelines.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Recovery Timeline
Notably, recovery from ESS takes relatively long, as detailed below:
First 24 to 72 Hours
Recovery from the general anesthesia administered before the surgery takes about 24 hours. More notably, bleeding may last between 24 and 72 hours, depending on the infection’s severity and operation’s extent.
Patients are cautioned against blowing their nose for the first 72 hours to avoid aggravating the open wounds. It is also advisable to sleep in an elevated position to facilitate easier drainage of the sinuses. Doctors also recommend using nasal rinses every four hours to manage the bleeding.
One Week After Surgery
Most doctors recommend a follow-up after one week. The follow-up exam involves checking whether the sinuses are healing properly. However, the doctor may wait until the next follow-up to take images of the sinuses.
Patients can handle slightly heavier chores after one week, but doctors still caution against lifting more than ten pounds. The doctor will also recommend other care and maintenance measures after the follow-up exam.
Three Weeks After Surgery
Inflammation caused by the surgery will begin subsiding after about three weeks. Notably, you may start experiencing the treatment’s benefits.
Ideally, you can resume your usual work and exercise routine after three weeks. However, it is recommendable to ease into your routine slowly and avoid excessively strenuous chores. You can also resume taking NSAID medications if the blood vessels are completely healed.
One Month After Surgery
The doctor may also recommend another follow-up exam after one month. The exam involves taking images of your sinuses and comparing them to images taken before the chronic sinusitis surgery. The doctor then recommends what to do and expect in the future.
Notably, your sense of smell may begin returning after one month. However, full sensory restoration may take about one more month.
Balloon Sinuplasty Recovery Timeline
Recovery from balloon sinuplasty takes shorter than ESS, as detailed below:
24 Hours After Surgery
Patients may experience mild or moderate bleeding for the first 24 hours after surgery, and your doctor will recommend 24-hour bed rest. Your doctor may also caution against blowing your nose for 24 to 72 hours, depending on the damage’s extent. It is also advisable to consult your doctor if the bleeding exceeds two days.
Ideally, patients can return to their usual work routine after the 24-hour bed rest. However, doctors caution against doing strenuous tasks, including lifting anything heavier than 20 pounds.
One Week After Surgery
Using nasal rinses every four hours for the first week after surgery helps keep the sinuses moist, facilitating healing and recovery. Your doctor may also recommend a follow-up exam at this point. The exam involves taking images of your sinuses and comparing them to images taken before the operation. The doctor may also recommend additional care and maintenance measures if recovery is incomplete.
Recovery from balloon sinuplasty takes less time for recovery from ESS. However, balloon sinuplasty is less effective than ESS in special cases because it cannot correct problems with the ethmoid bone or remove malformations such as tumors and polyps.
Want to know if balloon sinuplasty is right for you? Schedule an appointment with us today and learn more about the procedures!