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Community Advocacy Organization

When to Consider Sinus Surgery


Courtesy of Lansing Marketing


Sinus infection, commonly known as sinusitis, happens when fluid builds up in the air-filled pockets of your sinuses, which allows germs to grow and cause inflammation. When this inflammation continues for more than three months, it can lead to chronic sinusitis. In severe cases, sinus surgery may be needed to treat this condition. “Only a small percentage of patients with sinus disease end up needing sinus surgery. Most of the time, these cases can be managed with medical therapy, allergy therapy, or allergy treatments to reduce their sinus disease burden,” said Ahmed Sufyan, MD, a double board-certified ENT and facial plastic surgeon at Mid-Michigan Ear, Nose, and Throat, who performs procedures at McLaren Greater Lansing. “Balloon sinuplasty is another option some patients might opt for. It is an in-office procedure that is done with a topical numbing medication that can open up their sinuses and improve symptoms.” Sinus surgery is for patients who are suffering with sinus disease, which includes polyps, severe allergy or blockage in their sinuses. Symptoms include pressure in the face, difficulty breathing through the nose, infections with fevers, and headaches. “Patients with chronic sinusitis are seen by their primary care physician first. In many cases, their physician may start them on allergy medications; their symptoms may start off as allergies or allergic rhinitis first,” said Dr. Sufyan. “Typically, if they don’t get better with the normal over-the-counter medications, we will order imaging, and if obstruction in the sinus drainage pathways is found, sinus surgery could be a possible solution for patients after they get an evaluation by an ENT or otolaryngologist specialist.” Complications from sinus surgery are extremely rare. Modern sinus surgeries typically utilize image guidance during surgery. This means surgeons will use their CT scan or X-ray images to navigate during the surgery. This procedure is considered minimally invasive with the new technique and causes no discernible change to the look of a patient’s face or nose. “The recovery time for sinus surgery is a few days. It can be done in the office or as an outpatient,” said Dr. Sufyan. “Historically, it took weeks for recovery. A lot of people were hesitant to seek treatment because they heard of stories about people having the surgery 30 years ago. However, I think it’s important for patients to know that a lot has changed and techniques for this surgery have improved.” For more information on sinus surgery, click here. Looking for a primary care provider? Click here for a list of providers accepting new patients. For more articles on health and wellness, click here.

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