Sinusitis is a condition which results from inflammation within the sinuses. The swelling leads to a blockage within the nose that prevents the draining of mucus. Because the mucus doesn’t drain, this creates pressure which leads to pain in the face and can reduce breathing. For most children sinusitis is a temporary condition that goes away on its own. However, if the symptoms worsen, and do not respond to medication, sinus surgery may be recommended.
What is sinus surgery?
Sinus surgery is a procedure which will last from an hour to an hour and a half. During this time the surgeon will clear the region which exists between both sides of the nose. Anesthesia will be provided, but may be localized which means the child will remain awake during the operation. While the child may hear some crunching sounds and a feeling of tightness in their nose, no pain will be felt.
If the surgeon needs to remove multiple blockages or polyps, a general anesthetic will be provided where the child will fall asleep. The ethmoid sinuses will be cleared first, along with the frontal sinuses, maxillary sinuses and sphenoid sinuses as needed.
What are the benefits of sinus surgery?
Sinus surgery is advantageous in situations where sinusitis has worsened, and medications are no longer effective. It is also beneficial when polyps are present in the sinuses. A polyp, which is also known as a cyst, is a noncancerous swelling within the nose that is filled with water. It is grape sized and can lead to a blockage, especially in a child that has asthma. Additional benefits of sinus surgery are:
- The removal of tumors
- Repairing a septum which is deviated
- Eliminating polyps that are unaffected by medication
- Alleviating swelling which results from allergies
What are the risks associated with sinus surgery?
Any surgical operation may be subject to complications, but those involving sinus surgery are rare. When complications do occur in most cases they can be treated through the usage of antibiotics. The most frequent complication seen with this surgical procedure is drainage of spinal fluid.
This only occurs in about two percent of patients, and will be detected during the operation itself, which means that it can be treated at that time so that the patient doesn’t have any problems after the procedure has been completed. The greatest risk associated with this operation is blindness, which results from a damaged optical nerve, but this is extremely rare.
What does the post-care entail?
Once the surgery is completed, the child may be dizzy or drowsy as a result of the anesthesia. A gauze dressing will be placed on the nose, and parents will need to change it whenever it becomes damp or dirty. A packing will also be put in the nose, which will require the child to breathe through their mouth while their nose heals. The pack will only need to be worn for about 72 hours. Parents with any questions about this procedure should contact us at ENT for Children or make an appointment with Dr. Samadi to discuss your child’s sinus surgery.