Your sinuses produce mucus to keep air clean and moist, but if the passage between your sinuses and nasal cavities gets blocked up, infections such as sinusitis could occur.

Recent advancements have greatly advanced surgical sinus procedures, making them both safe and effective solutions.

How It’s Done

Sine surgery aims to clear away blockages, restore natural drainage, and ease congestion in order to relieve symptoms associated with chronic sinusitis, such as discomfort and pressure in the sinuses, headaches, facial pain or loss of smell or taste.

Sinus surgery typically takes place under either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation, and typically begins by inserting an endoscope – a thin and flexible tool with a small camera lens and light that sends images back to a monitor – into your nose and inserting an endoscope inside to guide microinstruments used by surgeons to remove polyps or correct deviated septames, for instance.

Some patients may qualify for the relatively newer sinus procedure known as balloon sinuplasty. Here, the doctor does not need to remove tissue or bone; rather, a thin catheter with an inflatable balloon attached is guided directly into the blocked sinus opening and expanded, creating space for normal drainage of sinus fluid.


Sinus surgery can alleviate many of the symptoms caused by chronic sinusitis. These may include facial pressure, headache, nosebleeds, bad breath and thick nasal discharge that leaves behind an unpleasant tingling sensation in your head or neck (post-nasal drip).

Most patients recover quickly enough from sinus surgery to return to work or school within several days, though there may be some discomfort postoperatively; pain medication will be provided as necessary.

Patients who smoke should discontinue this practice before and after surgery as smoking increases their risks of scarring, poor healing and failure of the operation. They should notify their primary care physician who will offer resources to assist in quitting smoking.

Bleeding after sinus surgery is normal, though most of it typically happens within the first several days – particularly when irrigation occurs. Bleeding can usually be stopped with several sprays of an oxymetazoline nasal spray; typically several sprays will stop bleeding from happening. Bleeding from your nose typically lasts a few weeks before diminishing over time.


Most surgical patients can go home soon after their procedure; if necessary, make arrangements for someone to drive you and provide all the supplies you’ll need for 24 hours after your operation.

After having sinus surgery, your doctor will give you detailed instructions for caring for your nose and sinuses. Most likely you will need to use a saline spray several times each day to rinse your nasal passages of any debris; starting early is key so blood crusts don’t form within your sinuses; additionally it would be wise to sleep with three or four pillows under your head in order to minimize pain and reduce swelling.

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms following surgery, such as visual changes or severe headaches. It is also wise to avoid medications known to promote bleeding prior to your procedure such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), high dose vitamin E supplements, St John’s Wort or ginseng.


Sinus surgery costs can vary widely. Usually done as a last resort after oral medications, nasal sprays, sinus irrigation systems and allergy shots have failed to offer relief, the overall expenses can add up in terms of medical treatment costs as well as lost productivity and misery for many individuals.

Your surgeon’s fee plays the largest part in determining your overall costs. Choose a surgeon with excellent reviews, who possesses both skill and reputation to perform your procedure as efficiently as possible – for best results, seek a double board-certified ear, nose and throat surgeon with experience performing sinus surgeries.

Anesthesia fees, facility fees and supplies will have an impact on the total cost. When selecting a surgeon it’s wise to research exactly how much coverage your insurance provides as this could change at any time. A quality surgeon should provide a breakdown of all expected costs prior to beginning any procedures; in case this surgery isn’t covered many providers offer financing solutions as well.

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