What is Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)?

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery removes diseased and obstructed sinus tissue while viewing the procedure with an endoscope. This procedure is designed to improve the sinuses' drainage and airflow through the nose. The sinus surgeon will use a thin camera rod with a light at the end to magnify and better see the sinus tissues. Specialized instruments open the sinuses widely by safely and effectively removing causes of sinus blockage like mucous membrane swelling, nasal polyps, and scar tissue.

When would I need functional endoscopic sinus surgery?

Most patients need surgery when chronic sinus inflammation or a chronic sinus infection doesn’t improve with medical treatments, such as antibiotics and medications to manage allergies.

You develop sinusitis when the tissue that lines your sinuses begins to swell, trapping mucus that typically flows through your sinuses and out through your nose. The trapped fluid can grow bacteria that can cause infections.

The goals of Endoscopic Sinus Surgery include:

  • Reduction in the number and severity of sinus infections
  • Improvement in symptoms associated with sinusitis
  • Improvement of airflow through the nose
  • Improvement in the sense of smell
  • Access for nasal rinses to reach the sinus cavities for cleaning and medication delivery

Although Dr. Atkins may advise surgery in your case, ultimately, it’s your decision. The key issue for you to think about is quality of life. Think about how sinus symptoms affect your day-to-day life. How many sick days do you take? How often are you tired? How do you feel about the amount of medication you are taking? It’s a very personal decision. If surgery becomes an option for you, we will do everything we can to explain things, so you feel comfortable making a decision.