Endoscopic sinus surgery

Endoscopic sinus surgery

The sinuses are air filled bony cavities in the front of the skull that are lined by mucosa and drain via narrow openings into the nose. The openings can become blocked by allergy, infection, inflammation, polyps, and sometimes tumours and trauma, resulting in poor ventilation of the sinuses causing a build-up of mucus and inflammation in the affected sinuses.

The 4 types of sinuses are the maxillary sinuses which are beneath the eyes and on either side of the nose, the ethmoid sinuses between the eyes, the frontal sinuses in the forehead above the eyes, and the sphenoid sinuses in the centre of the skull right at the back of the nose.

Endoscopic sinus surgery uses instruments and endoscopes passed through the nostrils to widen the openings into the sinuses and clean them out. Some or all of the sinuses may be opened depending on the extent of the disease and which sinuses are involved. The surgery sometimes requires a septoplasty to straighten the middle dividing partition of the nose and reduction of the inferior turbinates to provide access. At the end of surgery some dissolving packing may be placed in the nose and sinuses.


After surgery
The nose will feel blocked and congested with some blood stained discharge for 2 weeks, after which it starts resolving. Do not do any physical exercise or blow your nose for 2 weeks. Most patients require 1-2 weeks off work.

You will be given a prescription for pain relief before you leave the hospital. It might be uncomfortable and you may have some mild headaches. You may also receive a prescription for antibiotics and prednisone.

After the operation you will be instructed to wash out your nose with saline sprays or washes several times a day until you are seen in clinic 1-2 weeks after the operation. At this first visit any splints, clot, and remaining packing may be removed after instilling local anaesthetic spray and the nose usually will feel clearer after this.  For some weeks after the operation intermittent cleaning of the nose in clinic may be required.

If you have any concerns after your procedure, please contact the following:
  • Your Surgeon
  • Auckland ENT Group on 09 522 2226
  • Your Family Doctor / GP
  • After hours – 24 Hour Medical Centre or Emergency Department
  • In case of an emergency – dial 111 for an ambulance.

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