The paranasal sinuses, found in the bones of the face and nose, can sometimes develop sinus problems. While medication and lifestyle changes can treat these health issues, they can sometimes become more serious. When this happens, a surgical procedure may be necessary to correct the problem. In these more severe cases, the individual may be referred to an ENT specialist (ear, nose, & throat doctor), who can operate to remove the inflamed tissue.
The causes of Sinus Problems
Sinuses are very important for a number of reasons. They’re basically empty chambers, but they serve a variety of functions. Such as working as filters, humidifiers, and passages for the respiratory system. The sinuses also work as a resonator for your voice. These functions can get inhibit if an individual develops severe or chronic sinus blockage. They may also cause severe respiratory problems.
The most common reason why these obstructions happen is swelling, or polyps (benign tissue growth), which form in the nose. Additionally, abnormal physical development, such as an unusually narrow nasal passage or an abnormally formed septum (the wall between the two nasal cavities), can cause sinus problems.
When a physical development causes sinus blockages, the best course of treatment may be surgery!
This is because medication and other nonsurgical treatments can reduce inflammation, but can not correct physical abnormalities. For such cases, an operation in which the specialist can correct the blockage can resolve respiratory issues.
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How Invasive is Sinus Surgery?
The individuals become understandably nervous when faced with the prospect of surgery to correct their sinus problems. After all, any surgery that involves cutting into the face carries the risks of complications that can affect one’s appearance and health. However, facial incisions are no longer necessary and the procedure is much less invasive today. Thanks to advancements in surgical procedures and new state of the art technological innovations, sinus surgery involves much less risk.
In the modern procedure of today, the patient will undergo what’s called endoscopic surgery and it gets its name from the endoscope used by the surgeon. The endoscope is a very small camera with a light, so the surgeon can make the incision inside the nostril. The endoscope provides the tools that help the surgeon see inside the nasal cavity and perform a more precise procedure. This often results in less pain experienced by the patient and a shorter post-surgery recovery time.
Another advancement has led to resolving the issue of blockages reforming after surgery. In the past, scarring from the surgery caused inflammation to occur, which would require a second surgery. This situation can now be avoided with a sinus stent, which is a small device treated with special anti-inflammatory medicine.
During the operation, the surgeon will insert the stent inside the sinuses, after removing the blockages. The stent is flexible, allowing it to conform to the exact shape of each individual’s sinus cavity. In addition to propping the sinuses open to improve respiration and allow for healing without scarring, the stent releases that anti-inflammatory medicine to help the healing process. The stent dissolves after 45 days so that it can pass through the patient’s system.
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A Deeper Look at Sinus Surgery
After other methods of treatment have been exhausted, your doctor will refer you to the ENT specialist. That doctor will send you for a CT scan, which can give him a closer look at the causes of your sinus blockage. It will also help him devise a strategy for performing the surgery in the most precise method possible.
When you show up for surgery, the first step in the procedure will be to sedate you with a general anesthesia. It will be necessary for you to be unconscious for the procedure, depending on the circumstances of the procedure. In some cases and depending upon the surgeon’s preference, a local anesthesia may be used, which will simply numb the patient and leave him or her conscious through the procedure.
Once the anesthesia takes effect, the operation can begin. To open up the sinus cavity, the surgeon may insert a small balloon. To perform the surgery, he will then insert the endoscope and use the small tools. He will use the tools to cut away the blockages and remove them from the nasal cavity. The process usually takes about two hours, but can take as long as four hours. In very rare cases, complications may require the patient to remain in the hospital overnight.
Seek the Help of a Professional and Experienced ENT Specialist
Since every person is unique, the development of their sinuses is different as well. This means no two procedures are the same. This is one reason the CT scan is necessary for the surgeon to plan out the procedure. This is also why a top-rated specialist, such as those at Hudson Valley Sinus Center, is best equipped to help. Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein is respected as one of the top ENT specialists in New York by his patients and peers. He is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery.
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