Is Surgery A Good Option For Sinusitis? Understand The Benefits And Risks!


Surgery is a tricky procedure and no matter how safe it is, we might feel apprehensive about getting one.

So, most people don’t get one unless it is absolutely necessary. In some cases, surgery seems to be the best option or even the last option. This blog will help you decide if you want to have surgery in case you have sinusitis.

Causes And Risks Of Sinusitis

Sinuses are four paired cavities in your head with narrow passages connecting them. They produce mucus, which helps drain out of the passages in your nose, keeping it clean and free from germs.

Sinusitis Surgery

Sinusitis, also referred to as rhinosinusitis, is a condition characterized by the inflammation and swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses.

It can be triggered by various factors including bacterial or viral infections, as well as allergies, which can result in blockage and accumulation of fluid within the sinuses.

As a consequence, individuals may experience facial pressure, pain, nasal congestion (commonly known as a stuffy nose), and other associated symptoms.

Types Of Sinusitis

Sinusitis can be classified into various types based on its duration (acute, subacute, chronic, or recurrent) and its underlying cause (bacterial, viral, or fungal).

1. Acute sinusitis is characterized by symptoms that last for less than four weeks, commonly caused by viral infections, such as the common cold.

2. Subacute sinusitis refers to symptoms that persist for a period of four to 12 weeks.

3. Chronic sinusitis involves symptoms that last for at least 12 weeks, with bacteria being the primary cause of this condition.

4. Recurrent acute sinusitis occurs when symptoms recur four or more times within a year, and each episode lasts less than two weeks.

5. Bacterial sinusitis can develop as a result of a bacterial infection or as a secondary infection following a viral sinusitis episode. 

6. Fungal sinusitis occurs in individuals with weakened immune systems. It carries a higher risk compared to other types of sinusitis and requires specialized management.

Is Surgery Good?

Yes. but only when conservative treatments fail to provide relief. The primary goals of sinus surgery are to alleviate symptoms and reduce the frequency of infections.

Persistent recurrent infections often indicate an underlying issue within the nasal cavity that can potentially be resolved through surgical intervention.

Furthermore, sinus surgery can improve nasal breathing, allowing for better airflow, and potentially restore the impaired sense of smell and taste that may have been affected by chronic congestion.

Types Of Surgery

There are different types of sinus surgeries available, including endoscopy and balloon sinuplasty.

1. Endoscopy is a commonly performed procedure where thin and flexible instruments called endoscopes are inserted into the nose.

One of the instruments has a small camera lens that provides visual images on a screen, enabling the doctor to identify and address sinus blockages. During endoscopy, there is no cutting of the skin, resulting in a quicker and easier recovery.

The procedure is typically done under local anesthesia, keeping the area numb while allowing the patient to remain awake. Patients are typically discharged to go home after the surgery.

2. Balloon sinuplasty is a newer surgical technique suitable for cases where no tissue removal is required. In this procedure, a thin tube with a small balloon attached is inserted into the nose.

The balloon is carefully guided to the blocked area within the nasal passage and then inflated. This process helps widen the passageway, improving sinus drainage and reducing congestion.

The specific type of surgery recommended will depend on your individual circumstances and the advice of your doctor.

It is important to consult with a medical professional to determine the most appropriate surgical approach for your condition.

Risks The Surgery Poses

Both endoscopy and balloon sinuplasty procedures carry minimal risks. The most commonly encountered risks include tissue injury and infection, which are generally manageable. Severe complications, such as damage to the brain or eyes, are extremely rare.

To ensure a well-informed decision, it is crucial to have a comprehensive discussion with your doctor regarding the potential risks and benefits of the specific procedure.

If you still have concerns or uncertainties, seeking a second opinion from another healthcare professional can provide additional clarity and peace of mind.

By gathering multiple perspectives, you can make a more confident and informed choice about your treatment options.

Also Read: Vitamins For Brain Health: Boost Your Memory And Focus!

Dr. Germana Barata is a research associate of the ScholCommLab and a dedicated science communication researcher at the Laboratory of Advanced Studies in Journalism (Labjor) and the Centre for the Development of Creativity (Nudecri) at the University of Campinas (Unicamp) in Brazil. With a Master’s and PhD in History of Science from São Paulo University, Dr. Barata is a respected scholar who has been awarded a productivity research fellowship in science communication at the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) in Brazil.

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