Thinking of Sinus Surgery? Here’s What to Expect

patient being comforted by a doctor

Surgery…not exactly the most enjoyable topic.

As doctors, we know there are plenty of concerns that can plague you leading up to your operation. But our job is always to help put you at ease, and we can do that by helping you know what to expect.

Want some good news? “Endoscopic” sinus surgery (a procedure commonly performed for extreme, ongoing cases of sinusitis) has a success rate of 85 to 90 percent. It’s not the first resort, but if other treatments have failed, then it’s a solid option for many patients.

So what should you expect? Here’s a heads up:

  • Congestion and discharge are normal. Some amount of blood coming from your nasal passage is normal for up to two weeks. You might have mild sinus headaches, too.
  • Blowing your nose and sneezing with your mouth closed are off limits. Strange, right? But for the first week or so, you should be careful of tiny habits that could encourage bleeding.
  • You might want some cold packs on hand. You’ll likely feel pressure and achiness while the post-surgery packing is in place. Your personal doctor can tell you specific instructions for how and when to use cold packs.
  • Pillows will be your friends. Ideally, you should sleep at about a 30-degree elevation for up to a week. For most people, that means two or three pillows on the bed.
  • The full results might take time. Although these types of procedures can be very helpful, don’t expect to wake up to perfect health the very next day. Some patients can take several months to reap the full benefits — but check with your doctor to see how you can recover best.

What does Dr. Robert Pincus have to say:

Patients often ask me, “how much time will I need off from work for sinus procedures?” With today’s minimally invasive computer guided techniques, unless your work involves heavy lifting or an extreme environment, you can expect to  go back to work in three to four days–with little more than a feeling of sinus congestion at that time. With office balloon sinuplasties, people generally go back to work the next day.

Sinus surgery is a common and generally very safe procedure, but you should still watch out for a few warning signs after the operation. If you notice any of the following, then consult your doc right away.

  • Pain that won’t go away with medication
  • A fever of 100.5° or more
  • Bleeding directly from the nose
  • Vision issues or eye pain
  • A stiff neck, accompanied by fatigue, a fever and a bad headache

Choosing to have surgery is a major decision. Seeing a qualified doctor (and knowing what’s involved before you decide) can make a world of difference. If you need a personal opinion about whether surgery might be an option for you, contact us.

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