Functional endoscopic sinus surgery, which is also referred to as FESS is a surgical treatment for sinusitis and nasal polyps. It is also a treatment for fungal, bacterial and chronic sinus disorders. This surgical procedure was developed in the 1950s, which is primarily made possible by Messerklinger and Stamberger, as well as other surgeons who are experts on this medical field.
Since a lot of people are experiencing sinusitis, experts introduced different kinds of treatments and surgeries. However, some of these treatments would cause discomfort on the part of the patient and because of this; proponents of the functional endoscopic sinus surgery used a different approach to treat sinusitis and nasal polyps. It is designed to deal with four sinuses and one of these is the frontal sinuses, which are located in the forehead. In addition to this, the surgical treatment is also made to cure the maxillary sinuses, which are found in the cheeks. The ethmoid sinuses, which are located between the eyes, are also captured by this kind of sinus surgery; and finally, the sinuses that are positioned at the back of the nasal found on the base of the skull, which is known as the sphenoid sinuses, are also treated by this operation.
When one watches a surgeon performing this sinus surgery, he or she may think that the procedure is impossible and painful. But because of the advancements of technology, this procedure is done with a blast. The functional endoscopic sinus surgery uses nasal endoscopes, which are very thin fiber-optic tube. These tubes are inserted into the nostrils to have a good view of the inner part of the nasal cavity and sinuses. With this, the surgeon will be able to accurately examine the affected area and proceed with the surgery. After examining the nasal cavity, using appropriate materials, the surgeon will then remove abnormal and obstructive tissues.
Right after the surgery, dressings will be placed on the nose and they should be kept that way for 24 hours. On the other hand, it is normal that the patient will feel like his or her nose is blocked. In some cases, this can be due to small materials placed inside the nose during the procedure, like special plastic sheets referred to as splints. However, there are some scenarios wherein the patient might feel that his or her nose is still stuffed even after all the dressings and splints are removed. This effect is still normal with this kind of sinus surgery and does not mean that the procedure did not work.
Aside from the feeling of stuffed nose, there are also some cases wherein the patient may feel pains weeks after the operation, although these pains are guaranteed minimal. Like the abovementioned effect, this does not mean that the operation is a failure. Surgeons usually prescribed painkillers for this matter.
Other than these two minor effects, there are several risks and complications that the patient may go through after the operation and one of these is bleeding. This effect is actually common in any type of surgical procedure. For the functional endoscopic sinus surgery, it is normal for the nose to excrete small amounts of blood days after the operation. Major bleeding is very unlikely to happen.
Aside from nose bleeding, eye problems are also one of the complications after the operation since the sinuses are very near the wall of the eye socket. There will be minor bleeding in the eye socket, which can be detected when there are some bruises around the eye. This effect will soon fade away even without any treatment but in some very rare cases, if the patient has severe swelling of the eye, he or she can have double vision or even get blind. This may result to another surgery with an eye specialist. To avoid such incident, it is important to remember not to blow the nose within the first two days after the operation.
The sinuses are also very near to the bone found at the base of the brain. With this, the functional endoscopic sinus surgery can also cause spinal fluid leak, wherein the thin bone can be damaged and result to leakage of fluid around the brain.
The good news is that, in a study conducted on those who have gone through this surgery, there is only one out of five patients who experienced eye problems but no loss of sight was recorded. At the same time, the probability for spinal fluid leaks to occur is way smaller as the ratio is only one out of a thousand surgeries. Bleeding is the most common effect where one out four patients reported to have recurrent nose bleeding that resulted to readmission to the hospital, but was immediately cured.
Even though there are several complications involved in the functional endoscopic sinus surgery, the positive results are more prominent than its negatives. This surgery is actually less painful than any kind of surgery. Aside from minimal pain, this operation is less extensive since only small amount of normal tissues will be removed. As a result, the procedure can actually be done on an outpatient basis, where the patient can recover at home instead of staying in the hospital.
Another reason why this sinus surgery is a great way to treat sinusitis is because it does not cause facial scarring. When one tries to have a surgery on any part of his or her body, that person will mostly have a scar, which sometimes stays permanently. Although this is true for most surgeries, the functional endoscopic sinus surgery leaves no mark on the face of the patient since the procedure is entirely done through the nostrils. This means that there is no need to cut through the skin of the patient.
A patient of the functional endoscopic sinus surgery does not need to go through the process of healing for a long time. One can already proceed to work one week after the surgery, given that the patient follows all necessary procedure in recovering.