There are times when medications and holistic remedies are not effective enough to make you feel better. For some people, repeated sinus infections or structural abnormalities have created situations in which inflammation and obstruction still exist, even after long courses of medication. In the past, sinus surgery was painful and did not offer great results. However, over the last 2 decades, there has been a great refinement in the medical management and surgical treatment strategies for chronic sinusitis. With newer technology, surgery is much more effective, and safer than ever.
Effective sinus surgery will help you breathe better. In all cases, it will allow the air that reaches the lungs to be filtered, heated, and vaporized, which should improve your asthma and decrease the risk of getting bronchitis and other lung infections. Sinus surgery often provides the sinuses more room to deal with swelling caused by allergies, pollution, infections, and other irritants. If you have allergies, the surgery will not stop the related symptoms from occurring, nor will it change your resistance to infections or sensitivity to pollution and various odors.
However, it can provide significant symptomatic improvement. For example, you may get better results from your allergy regimen after surgery. If you are around children who get sick often, or if your resistance to colds and infections is low, you may still catch a cold or get another sinus infection. However, the surgery will make a cold much more tolerable, and you may not even know that you have an infection.
The surgery should enlarge the natural openings to the various sinus cavities while trying to preserve normal mucosa, leaving as many cilia in place as possible. The goal of the surgery is to return the sinuses to a near-normal functioning state, resulting in the return of normal mucus flow. This essentially allows the sinuses to once again drain properly. If you suffer from sinus headaches, the facial pain due to pressure differentials should improve or disappear. Symptoms of postnasal drip like coughing and hoarseness, stomach upset, sore throat, bad breath, clogged ears, swollen glands, foul tastes, and/or loss of smell and/or taste (unless the olfactory nerve was irreversibly damaged by the infection) should also immediately improve. Surgery will allow you to sleep better because you will be able to breathe better so that you feel rested and alert.
Sinus surgery is also used to remove nasal polyps. In the past, you may have been told that nasal polyps could be removed but that you would require additional surgery about every year or so, and sometimes even more frequently. However, with my comprehensive care program, my patients rarely have to repeat surgery in the operating room. If they can recognize the early symptoms consistent with returning polyps, I can remove new polyps as they begin to return in the office with only topical anesthesia. This technique prevents the polyps from growing too large where they may fully obstruct the sinuses again.
If you had sinus surgery in the past, the newest techniques can offer you new hope for complete relief of your symptoms. It would be a good idea for you to choose a board-certified otolaryngologist - head and neck (ear, nose, and throat (ENT)) surgeon who specializes in revision surgery. A fellowship-trained functional endoscopic sinus surgeon will have the highest level of training, making those few specialists the superspecialists.