Understanding Your Sinus Surgery Options

Chronic sinusitis is more than just a cold. It's a persistent condition that makes it difficult to breathe and to go about your day. If you have sinusitis and have tried what seems to be everything to treat it -- from draining your nose with a neti pot to taking prescription medicine -- but haven't gotten much relief, surgery might be the best option for you.

Understanding Your Sinus Surgery Options

Today's sinus surgery options are more advanced and less invasive than the traditional methods used in the past. The procedure can be the solution you've been looking for, so that you can finally breathe easily, each and every day. If you're considering sinus surgery, understanding the different types available and what they can do will help you make the most appropriate choice.

Endoscopic Sinusotomy

During traditional sinus surgery, the doctor makes an incision either inside the mouth or on the outside of the face to reach the sinuses. The traditional method isn't used very frequently any more, since it puts the patient at an increased risk for infection and complications. Instead, endoscopic sinusotomy is often the preferred procedure. Instead of making an incision into the skin or in the mouth, the surgeon threads an endoscope, or small camera, into the nostrils and into the affected sinus. Some surgeons, such as Dr. Nachlas, also use computer imaging to help guide them through the sinuses.

Once the surgeon has a clear view of what is happening in the sinuses, he is able to use a number of tools to remove the obstruction or to otherwise clear the sinus. Typically, endoscopic sinus surgery can be performed without the need for a single incision.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty is an even more advanced and less invasive option than endoscopic sinusotomy. The procedure has been approved by the FDA, and Dr. Nachlas is one of a handful of surgeons to offer it.

Balloon sinuplasty features an endoscope and a catheter, both of which are threaded into the nasal passages. The catheter, which has a small balloon on one end, is threaded through the nostril, into the sinus. The balloon is then inflated, so that the sinus passageway expands. The nasal passages and sinuses are then rinsed with saline, allowing trapped mucus to drain. Sinus tissue also becomes less inflamed after the procedure, allowing a patient to breathe more easily.

The surgery offers a few advantages over other methods. Since the surgeon doesn't have to remove bone or other tissue from the sinuses, the recovery time is generally a lot shorter. In many instances, patients need just a day or two to rest up before heading back to work.

Although less invasive than other options, balloon sinuplasty isn't the solution for every patient. Depending on how severe the sinusitis is, a patient will see better or longer lasting results from an endoscopic surgery. Some patients find that they need to repeat the procedure after some time has passed to maintain the ability to breathe easily.

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Combining Sinus Surgery With Rhinoplasty

Sinus surgery isn't the same thing as rhinoplasty. One surgery is performed to improve function, the other is performed to improve form. But the two surgeries aren't mutually exclusive. It is possible to improve both form and function by combining sinus surgery with rhinoplasty.

Combining nasal surgeries allows a patient to kill two birds with one stone. A patient may have trouble breathing thanks to a deviated septum or chronic sinusitis and may also be unhappy with the way his or her nose looks. Deciding to have sinus surgery and rhinoplasty at once means that the patient only has to undergo anesthesia once and will benefit from a combined, shorter recovery time. If a person has insurance that will cover the cost of sinus surgery, but not rhinoplasty, combining the two surgeries can mean that the patient pays less out-of-pocket, too.

Choosing an Option

The procedure that is right for you depends on a number of factors. Some patients have inflammation and infection in all of their sinuses, others just in one or two. The more sinuses that are affected, the more involved your surgery may be. If you are unhappy with your nose's appearance and suffer from sinusitis, rhinoplasty with sinus surgery might make sense for you.

Dr. Nathan Nachlas is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in nasal surgery, including rhinoplasty and sinus surgery. He can help you decide which surgery will best solve your nasal troubles and what you can expect from the procedure.

For more information or to request a consult with Dr. Nachlas contact Sandy Friedman, Director of Patient Relations at 561-939-0909.


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Tagged sinus surgery, balloon sinuplasty, chronic sinusitis