Sinusitis and chronic sinusitis
Sinusitis is a complex disease of inflammation of the nose and sinuses with multiple causes of blockage. In sinusitis, the sinus mucous membranes swell and become blocked, causing pain, infection and impaired ability to breathe.
While some patients refer to sinusitis as a single area of concern, it actually represents a variable spectrum of disease. Sinusitis may include:
- Recurrent acute sinusitis – also referred to as acute rhinosinusitis, is a short-term inflammation of the sinuses commonly associated with a viral infection or cold
- Chronic sinusitis – a chronic condition which means there has been persistent inflammation of the sinuses for more than 12 weeks
- Fungal infections – fungus may be involved in the cause of sinus inflammation
- Mucoele formation – cyst-like structures resulting from chronic sinus blockage
Sinusitis can also be associated with many other diseases such as asthma, reflux or sleep apnoea.
Symptoms of sinusitis may be sinus infection, facial pain, reduced sense of smell, nasal congestion, mucus discharge and post nasal drip. There may be structural deformities contributing to symptoms such as nasal polyps, enlarged turbinates or deviated septum. Nasal obstructions such as these can make it more difficult for mucus to drain from the sinuses resulting in a higher risk of chronic sinusitis.
Treatment depends on correctly diagnosing the type of sinusitis. Typically, medical treatment is important, including nasal rinses and nasal steroid sprays. When conserative treatments and medical treatments fail and do not result in an improvement in symptoms or when there is concern of a possible tumour or mucocele then surgery is often required.
The success of surgery also depends on choosing the appropriate operation for the pathology. Typically, sinus operations are done through the nostrils using a small endoscope with specialised instruments. This is referred to as endoscopic sinus surgery.
A sinus operation is a type of surgery that usually involves improving the flow of the blocked sinuses.
Under general anesthesia, a surgeon uses specialised instruments to effectively remove tissues that are causing sinus blockages like natural nasal passage blockages, enlarged turbinates, nasal polyps and scar tissue.
Endoscopic sinus surgery or functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is a minimally invasive surgery performed entirely through the nostrils and does not involve cutting through the skin. In the procedure, the surgeon can open obstructed nasal passages by removing mucoele and polyps for example, or make new passages to improve the function of the nose.
Recovery after sinus operation
Patients are usually discharged from the hospital a couple of hours after the surgery.
Patients may experience some mild post operative pain that can be managed with pain medications.
The nasal area will require drops and antibiotics for a period of time after the surgery.
Daily activities can usually be resumed after 1-2 weeks.
The goals of sinus surgery
- To reduce the number and severity of sinus infections
- Improve the symptoms of sinusitis
- Improve breathing and airflow through the nose
While the goal of surgery is to achieve the best outcome for patients, there is no guarantee that symptoms such as loss of smell or post nasal drip will improve. Additionally, patients may need to continue to use nasal sprays and medications to keep symptoms under control, particularly for those suffering from allergic rhinitis.
Risks of sinus surgery
Any surgical procedure carries risks. Some of the risks of sinus surgery include:
- Bleeding post-operation
- Eye hematoma or swelling
- Loss of smell
While most complications are rare, it is important to be aware of the complications that can occur. Your ENT specialist will be available to answer any concerns you may have.
What to expect at your sinus surgery appointment
In your consultation with a sinus specialist, you will be asked about your symptoms and you will also have an endoscopy to inspect your nose. Other tests such as CT scan may also be arranged depending on the complexity of your case.
Before surgery is performed, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to make informed decisions and know exactly what to expect. We recommend you seek opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. If you still have questions, it can be wise to seek a second opinion to make sure you’re comfortable with your sinus surgeon, the sinusitis surgery procedure and you know exactly what to expect.
Why choose ENT Specialists Group for sinus surgery (Melbourne and surrounds)?
At ENT Specialists Group, we offer unique expertise in sinus surgery. We provide thorough pre, during and aftercare for sinus operations and have positioned ourselves as global leaders in the field with many other surgeons asking us for advice on complex sinus surgeries.
While we’re based in Melbourne and perform sinus surgeries in key locations across Victoria, our evidence-based approach to sinus surgery has seen us take to the stage as international speakers. We have attended conferences to share our expert knowledge.
Our team of ENT specialists is committed to research to continue to offer a superior level of sinus surgery in Melbourne and regional Victoria. We decide a tailored care plan for all of our patients seeking sinus treatment.
Our sinus surgery team
Our specialist team is highly regarded in the field of sinus surgery.
Dr Yi Chen Zhao (nose specialist)
- The nose specialist and current head of nasal and sinus surgery at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
- Specialist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital with the neurosurgeons that perform operations from the nose to the brain
- Nasal allergy and immunotherapy specialist
- Member of the Academy of Facial Plastics Surgery
- ENT surgeon in Melbourne
- Unique expertise in sleep and snoring surgery
- Works with respiratory physicians to specialise in sleep studies and sleep apnoea
- Highly experienced surgeon treating all nose and sinus issues
- Treats both children and adults
- Snoring and sleep apnoea
- Head and neck cancer
- Experienced head, neck and rhinoplasty surgeon
- 20 years’ experience in all aspects of ENT specialising in rhinoplasty and head and neck cancers
Fast appointments for chronic sinusitis
While you might be ready to undergo sinus surgery, long waiting lists often mean life can get in the way. At ENT Specialist Group, we’re HotDoc integrated. This means patients can book and schedule an appointment online or via mobile any time of night or day. We aim to accommodate GP referrals within 24 hours to make sure any urgent cases are attended to as soon as possible.
If you’re in Melbourne or regional areas of Victoria and you’re searching for sinusitis treatment or considering sinus surgery, we invite you to contact us for a consultation. We will discuss all your options while making sure you’re confident with your decision.
Where can I make an appointment for sinus treatment in Melbourne?
We consult at various locations across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria to make sure our sinus surgery is accessible for all Victorians.
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If you’re considering a sinus operation or you want to know more about sinus surgery in Melbourne, contact us today or make an online booking.