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A Guide to Endoscopic Sinus Surgery | Blog | A/Prof Luke Tan

A Guide to Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Does a constantly stuffy nose have you longing for relief? Endoscopic sinus surgery could be the key to breathing easy again. This minimally invasive procedure uses a thin, lighted tube called an endoscope to visualise your sinuses and restore its normal function and ventilation.

This article will guide you through everything you need to know, from pre-surgery preparation to recovery, so you can approach the procedure with confidence.

Preparing for Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

To ensure a successful endoscopic sinus surgery, preparation is key. This includes:

  • Preoperative Medications - Your physician may prescribe preoperative medications to optimise the condition of your sinuses for surgery.
  • Stop Certain Medications – Your surgeon may ask you to stop taking certain medications temporarily before the surgery, especially blood thinners like aspirin, which can increase the risk of bleeding during the procedure.
  • Quit Smoking – Smoking can interfere with your recovery and healing process. To optimise your recovery, your surgeon may recommend quitting at least 3–4 weeks before surgery and continuing to abstain afterwards.
  • Fasting – Your doctor will provide instructions about when you should stop eating or drinking before the surgery. Should you need to take medicines on the day of the surgery, do so with just a sip of water.

What to Expect During Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

You will be given anaesthesia to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. The sinus surgeon will insert an endoscope into your nostrils and navigate it into your sinuses. Using special surgical tools and an endoscope, your surgeon will remove blockages, such as polyps or scar tissue, and improve sinus drainage. They may then pack your nose with dressings to absorb any blood or discharge, as well as prevent post-operative adhesions. The procedure generally takes 1 to 3 hours, but the exact duration can vary depending on the complexity of your case.

Recovering from Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Once the surgery is complete, you will be moved to a recovery room, where your vital signs will be monitored as the anaesthesia wears off. Most patients can go home the same day, but some may need to be observed overnight.

Postoperative care is critical for a successful recovery. For the first week following surgery, you should avoid heavy physical activity. It is also advisable not to blow your nose during this period to allow your sinuses to heal. In some cases, you may be asked to rinse your nose regularly with a nasal douche as instructed by the doctor.

You may experience some nasal congestion and drainage of blood and mucus in the first few days after surgery. This is normal and should gradually improve. If you experience severe bleeding, high fever, or worsening pain, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Preparing for Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

While endoscopic sinus surgery is generally considered safe and effective; as with all surgical procedures, there are risks involved. These include:

  • Excessive Bleeding – Some amount of bleeding is normal during and after the surgery. However, in rare cases, excessive bleeding may occur and require additional treatment.
  • Infection – While antibiotics are typically given to prevent this, there is always a slight risk of developing an infection after any surgical procedure. Signs of infection include persistent fever, pain, and abnormal discharge from the nose.
  • Spinal Fluid Leak – This is a rare but serious complication where the fluid that surrounds the brain leaks into the nose. This can lead to symptoms like clear, watery drainage from your nose, especially when leaning forward, and severe headaches.
  • Changes in Vision – Although extremely rare, there is a small risk of injury to the eye or optic nerve, which could potentially cause temporary or permanent changes in vision.
  • Other risks – Other less common risks include alterations in the sense of one’s smell or taste, persistent nasal drainage, and, in rare instances, a change in the nose's appearance due to alterations in its internal structure.

Considering Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?

Our sinus clinic, led by A/Prof Luke Tan, offers a comprehensive approach to treating sinus conditions. A/Prof Tan has extensive experience performing endoscopic sinus surgery to help you regain the comfort of clear and healthy sinuses. Schedule an appointment with us at 6474 6116 to discuss personalised treatment options and see if endoscopic sinus surgery is right for you.