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Surgery Options for Chronic Sinusitis

Updated: Jan 16

As far as empty spaces go, sinuses are rather useful ones. The mucous membranes in these cranial cavities help protect our noses from foreign particles and pathogens, but when the membranes become inflamed, they do more harm than good. Sinus inflammation can be acute, meaning it flares up in one distinct instance, or chronic, in which it occurs from time to time over a long period.

While antihistamines and home remedies can help with the symptoms of acute sinusitis, its chronic counterpart proves far more troublesome. You may experience congestion, a runny nose, and headaches that never seem to resolve. When sinusitis symptoms linger for more than three months, you’ll need to consider surgical intervention. However, this previously invasive procedure may now be simpler, thanks to the development of new surgery options for chronic sinusitis.

Traditional Sinus Surgery

With the development of newer methods, we now deem the most invasive surgical procedure for resolving chronic sinus inflammation as “traditional” surgery. Some patients can’t take advantage of these innovations, leaving this method as the only viable option. During traditional sinus surgery, your surgeon makes an incision in the mouth or face, from which they access the sinuses themselves to extract infected tissue. The procedure requires general anesthesia and involves a lengthy recovery time in which patients have to keep their noses packed for at least a week to prevent severe blood loss.


Surgery has come a long way thanks to the development of the endoscope. By using tiny cameras on flexible tubes, doctors can perform minimally invasive surgery, reducing operation and recovery time. During endoscopic sinus surgery, your team refers to high-resolution video in the nasal passage to determine where to make tiny incisions to remove nasal polyps or scale back turbinates, the structures of tiny bones that warm inhaled air, which can obstruct airflow. And if your ENT finds that you suffer from a deviated septum, endoscopic sinus surgery can help correct this condition.

Balloon Sinuplasty

A relatively recent but quite welcome development in the otolaryngology field is that of balloon sinuplasty, a treatment option for persistent breathing difficulties. Because of its short and simple recovery period and lasting effects, it’s become one of the most popular surgery options for chronic sinusitis. During a balloon sinuplasty procedure, your ENT restructures some of the thin and tiny bones in your nose and face by using a balloon catheter to exert pressure on them until they fracture. By opening up more space in the airway, sinusitis sufferers can enjoy easier breathing and increased drainages of the sinuses, meaning less chronic congestion.

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