Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) is a modern, minimal surgical treatment for sinus disease. Sinus disease can include recurrent infections, nasal polyps and other diseases of the paranasal sinuses.
During a FESS procedure, a magnifying endoscope is used through the nostrils to view the affected areas, remove tissue to open up blocked passages and remove areas of infection.
Very tiny endoscopes and high definition cameras allow for greater control during surgery, preserving the sinus lining and establishing drainage and ventilation through the sinuses.
FESS may be combined with other procedures such as septoplasty or turbinoplasty. A thorough preoperative history and physical examination, along with a dedicated CT scan of the sinuses is very important for optimal results.
When is FESS indicated?
Surgery for sinus disease becomes an option when medical treatments (nasal steroid sprays, salt water sprays, allergy management) have failed, or are not working. Sometimes the problem is anatomical, such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps. Often it is a combination of anatomy problems, and allergy/chronic infection.
FESS aims to restore the function of the nose and sinuses - with clear airflow, and improved mucous drainage.
FESS surgery steps
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery is performed in hospital under general anaesthetic. The steps include:
Admission to hospital - detailed instructions are given prior to admission
Before surgery, you’ll see your surgeon and anaesthetist
The nose is prepared for optimal operative conditions
The operation is performed with you asleep for 1-2 hours.
Dissolvable packing is left in the nose to encourage faster healing
Some FESS procedure can be performed as “Day Stay” - where you are able to return home the day of surgery.
2-3 weeks post surgery, symptom improvements once swelling subsides
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery recovery
There may be some mild post-operative pain that is managed with simple pain medication. It is more often “congestion” after the operation.
Following surgery you will need to rinse your nose and sinuses with a saltwater solution 2-3 times per day. This promotes healing, and helps remove blood clots and dry mucous which occur after surgery
For the first week or two after surgery the nose will feel quite blocked.
At Melbourne Sleep Surgery:
- Our surgeon Mr Nathan Hayward is an Otolaryngology (ENT), Head and Neck Surgeon with comprehensive sub-speciality training in the surgical management of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), Snoring and Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) in Adults and Children
- Nasal obstruction and sinus disease can play a huge role in the development of sleep breathing issues
What to expect at your first visit:
- We cover your detailed history and a complete physical assessment which involves nasoendoscopy (a thin fibre-optic camera inserted via your nose)
- We take the time and explain things thoroughly. Our goal is for you to understand your options and feel empowered to make the right decisions for your health and wellbeing.
Frequently asked questions about FESS
This procedure opens up the small passages in the sinuses, improving mucus drainage and nasal function
Bilateral refers to both sides of the sinuses.
A regular saltwater rinse regime (2-3 times a day) is critical to achieving the best result after surgery. Pain relief as needed.
Avoid blowing your nose, heavy lifting or strenuous exercise. These are likely to increase bleeding. Detailed post-operative instructions are given to patients before discharge from hospital.
Pain relief, and salt water rinses.
These are small extensions of the nasal cavity. There are four areas referred to as the maxillary sinuses, frontal sinuses, ethmoidal sinuses and sphenoidal sinuses.
Normally a combination of anatomy (deviated septum, large turbinates, nasal polyps) and things that effect the lining of the nose (infection, allergy, chemical irritation)
Rinsing helps to flush the nose and sinuses, removing dry blood and other tissues from the nose.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.