The Pros and Cons of Sinus Surgery: Is It Worth It?
Updated: May 5
Sinus surgery has its own set of pros and cons. On the one hand, it can alleviate severe and chronic symptoms, improve airflow, and enhance the patient's quality of life. On the other hand, just like any medical procedure, it has risks and potential complications, such as bleeding, infection, and reactions to anesthesia. Moreover, with few types of sinus surgery is no guarantee that the surgery will cure sinusitis completely. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of sinus surgery to help individuals weigh the benefits and drawbacks of this treatment option.
Please note that surgical intervention for fulminant fungal sinusitis differs entirely from surgery for other sinusitis types.
Understanding Sinus Surgery
Various factors, such as allergies, anomalies in sinus drainage pathways, or a weakened immune system, can cause sinus infections. When the sinuses become infected, the inflammation causes blockage in sinus drainage pathways. If the mucus cannot drain properly, it becomes trapped and stagnates, providing a fertile breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
Over time, the stagnant fluids can create a cycle of chronic infections, sinus pressure, and pain. When medications like antibiotics, antiallergic medication, and decongestants don't work, doctors may suggest sinus surgery as an option.
During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision and use specialized tools to remove any blockages in the sinus drainage pathways. Surgery aims to create a clear pathway for the sinus fluids to drain properly and prevent future infections.
After the surgery, patients typically experience a significant improvement in their symptoms. The risk of recurrent infections is reduced by removing the blockages and allowing the sinus fluids to drain correctly. Additionally, improved drainage can relieve sinus pressure and headaches and help patients breathe more easily.
Pros and Cons of Sinus Surgery
Sinus surgery Benefits
TFSE sinus surgery with top technologies can provide life-long relief from sinusitis and its symptoms.
Treatment can prevent acute on chronic sinusitis attacks that affect daily life.
Chronic sinusitis complications, including hearing loss, voice box problems, and asthma, can be entirely prevented. If already present, the condition can be prevented from worsening.
Surgery is highly low-risk or zero-risk when used with navigation systems.
Endoscopes eliminate facial scars or facial disfigurement
Recovery time is relatively short, allowing individuals to resume work within 2 to 24 hours for people doing WFH, with a worst-case scenario of 5 days.
Risks of sinus surgery
FESS sinus surgery is the most popular option but has a high failure rate of 70% after three years.
Sinuses are located in a critical area close to the brain, eyes, nerves, and blood vessels. Without navigation technology, there is a slight risk of damaging vital parts during surgery. In rare cases, patients have lost eyesight due to sinus surgery, becoming the talk of the town among ENT surgeon circles.
The success rate for sinus surgery is closely related to the technology and technique used, which can be costly. For example, the top-notch sinus surgery cost in India is as much as 3.5 Lakhs INR.
Other potential risks and complications of sinus surgery include bleeding and infection. Post-operative care and follow-up visits are essential to minimize these risks.
Verdict: Is sinus surgery worth it?
Our author, Dr. K. R. Meghanadh, carefully weighs the pros and cons. Surgery is avoided if the patient's condition is mild and can be treated with antibiotics. However, if there are complications and the infection is high, surgery is recommended along with antibiotics to prevent the condition from worsening.
Dr. Meghanadh strongly advocates using TFSE surgery accompanied by debriders, navigation system, and EBS, despite its higher cost, due to its impressive success rate - three times higher than that of FESS. While FESS may provide temporary relief and prevent the progression of complications, patients who undergo this procedure are at a high risk of experiencing a recurrence of the disease within three years. They may need to visit the same hospital or another with similar complaints. In the worst case, they may learn to live with the disease and its complications, such as hearing loss and asthma.
If you're seeking a lasting solution to your sinus issues, Dr. Meghanadh's recommendation is clear - opt for TFSE for the best chance at success and long-term relief.