Common Problems After Sinus Surgery
What are sinuses?
Sinuses are nasal passage cavities behind the brow, cheeks, eyes, and bones. The term sinus comes from Latin and means 'hollow cavity.' Sinuses produce a protective mucus membrane that keeps your nasal passages moist. Mucus also acts as a barrier against dust, bacteria, and other irritants. Consider them an air-filtration system for your nasal passage.
Sinuses also have cilia, small hairlike structures that are critical in draining the mucus out of the sinus passage through the nose. Other functions of the sinus are to heat and moisten inhaled air, give resonance to your voice, activate an immune response against intruders in the nasal cavity, and help decrease the weight of your head.
What is sinus surgery?
Sinus surgery is a procedure that is needed to remove any blockages in the sinus pathways. People with ongoing and recurrent sinus infections, abnormal sinuses, infected tissue or bone, or growths like polyps may require this surgery. For sinus infections that cannot be treated with medications or do not subside on their own sinus surgery is the only way to counter them.
There are various types of sinus surgeries and most of them are not invasive. They guarantee quick recovery and minimal patient discomfort. ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeons, also called otolaryngologists, will perform this surgery on you. If a sinus operation is on the card for you, your doctor will discuss the available options, how the surgery takes place, recovery time, complications, and aftercare tips.
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery FESS is a minimally invasive and highly sophisticated operation to treat severe sinus conditions. This sinus surgery is the most effective, and around 80% to 90% of patients who underwent this reported positive results. A nasal endoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and light, is used to relieve sinus symptoms without the need for any incisions in or around the nose while the patient is under anaesthesia.
With specialised tools, the affected area is treated accordingly. Usually, your doctor will do nasal endoscopy to examine the infection, growth, or inflammation in your sinuses. To better understand your sinuses' status, they may also do a CT (computed tomography) scan.
Balloon Dilation Sinus Surgery Balloon Dilation Sinus Surgery is a minimally invasive sinus surgery, mostly done to treat chronic sinusitis. If you have symptoms like stuffy nose, congestion, facial pressure, and loss of smell that are not going away after typical treatment routes like nasal decongestants and antibiotics, you will probably need surgery. Balloon Dilation Sinus Surgery is usually performed on adults and, in very rare conditions, on children.
Before this procedure, your doctor will likely do a CT scan to examine your sinuses' appearance. After that, your nasal cavity will be given a topical decongestant, followed by the administration of local anaesthesia. The doctor will use an endoscope and insert a catheter into your nostril. Using this catheter, they will introduce a small balloon, which they will inflate to expand your sinuses and consequently drain them
After sinus surgery problems can be experienced by the patient, though they are rare. Both the mentioned sinus operations are considered routine without needing the patient to stay in the hospital overnight. This surgery can give you long-term relief that you have been seeking but could not achieve with medication.
Acquainting yourself with the sinus surgery problems that may arise later, clearing any doubts about them with your doctor, and learning how to deal with them can help minimise additional risks. There are some common problems experienced by almost everyone who undergoes this operation. The problems usually recede with time and proper aftercare. They are:
Pain: Some pain, swelling, and tenderness around the nose, upper lips, or cheeks and around your eyes a few days after the surgery. The sensation will be like a sinus infection. Self-medication is not ideal for countering this. You should only take the post-operative pain medication that your doctor has prescribed.
Nasal stuffiness:The nose may feel stuffy and congested, like during a cold. This sensation should go away in a week or two.
Fatigue:Even though a sinus surgery is considered routine, it is still mentally and physically straining to undergo this operation. Besides the mental toll of this operation, you can experience tiredness from the medication. Some people may not experience this at all and can resume their regular lives almost instantly.
Bleeding:Bleeding may happen within 24 hours of the surgery, but that should not alarm you. Your doctor will also inform you of this possibility ahead of time. Avoid blowing your nose but dab the blood away or tilt your head back and breathe gently. Bleeding can occur a few weeks after the sinus surgery as well.
Temporary loss of smell and taste here is a possibility of temporary loss of smell and taste, especially if you have undergone sinus surgery to remove nasal polyps. There's usually leftover dried blood in the nasal passage, which will go away over time.
Then there are rare complications that can arise because of the sinus surgery like:
- Bleeding may happen during surgery, but nasal packing usually counters this problem.
- Bacterial sinusitis may occur after a balloon dilation sinus surgery requiring antibiotic medication.
- You might get teary eyes post-surgery. Bleeding in the eyes might also happen during the sinus surgery but that is rectified there and then. There are also extremely rare chances of your vision being affected and double vision.
- The sinus issues you experienced pre-surgery may recur. Even though the success rate of sinus surgeries is on the higher side, there is no guarantee that your issues will completely disappear.
- If your sinusitis symptoms return, you may have to try another surgical procedure.
Meril Life offers NOSZEL nasal packing, a gelatin-based sponge that completely absorbs within 3 to 4 weeks without any residue. It's beneficial as a temporary wound dressing post-sinus surgery because you will not have to visit the doctor for possibly painful packing removal. NOSZEL is designed to keep the wound moist, reduce adhesions, and encourage healing. NOSZEL is non-toxic, non-allergic, immunogenic, and non-pyrogenic.
Sinus surgery is typically safe and routine, but like every operation, it poses some risks and complications. One needs to acquaint oneself with these risks and complications before the surgery and follow the doctor's advice for treating them if the need arises.