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What is functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS)?


Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is a surgical technique used to help open the SINUS drainage pathways and remove mucus from the sinuses, which helps to eliminate or decrease the number of infections in the future. Because this technique opens the natural sinus openings, FESS has been shown to produce better results than procedures used in the past.


When is sinus surgery necessary?


If there are several episodes of ACUTE SINUSITIS in the past year or has long-standing CHRONIC SINUSITIS which does not seem to go away completely with antibiotics, sinus surgery may be recommended.


What is involved with FESS?


Before endoscopic sinus surgery, a CT scan will be performed to see how your sinuses are formed and how big they are. Your child may need to receive sedation (a calming medicine) through an IV (catheter in a vein) in order to have the CT scan taken.

These pictures can be used to show the amount of infection in the sinuses, as well as help your doctor know exactly what kind of surgery will needed


The surgery is performed using small telescopes which are placed through the nose allowing the doctor to open the natural drainage pathways of the sinuses under direct vision. This allows for drainage of mucus from the sinuses and helps prevent future infections. 


FESS is performed under general anesthesia. This procedure does not require an overnight stay in the hospital, and the length of surgery depends on the amount of disease and blockage in the sinuses. However, surgery usually does not last more than an hour.


About 2-3 weeks after surgery, an appointment will be made to allow the doctor to clean out any crusting and evaluate the area where the surgery was performed to make sure it is healing properly.


Is endoscopic sinus surgery dangerous?


Endoscopic sinus surgery as described above involves operating on your child's sinuses through the nose using small telescopes. As the sinuses are located near the eyes and directly under the brain, there is always a risk that damage may occur to those areas. However, because the surgery is performed under direct vision and because of the experience of the surgeons, these complications are very rare.

These risks and possible complications will be described for you prior to your child's surgery.

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