For sinusitis sufferers, summer time can offer a less hectic personal schedule and free up some time to have a needed sinus surgery. Oftentimes patients who can greatly benefit from sinus surgery avoid having the procedure because they have heard inaccurate information. While there are several myths about sinus surgery, the fact is, millions of people have been helped through sinus surgery and are now breathing easier.
Myth #1: Sinuses will clear up naturally over time
Most people’s sinuses do eventually drain properly after a bout with congestion or sinusitis, however, if you suffer from recurrent or chronic sinusitis, your sinus discomfort can last indefinitely unless treated. For many sinus surgery patients, their sinuses don’t drain properly. They often experience incomplete drainage or congestion returns within a short period of time.
Sinusitis can be caused by many factors, including:
- The common cold
- Nasal polyps
Many people are affected by sinusitis, but not all in the same way or for the same length of time. Types of sinusitis include:
- Acute sinusitis: Symptoms last up to 4 weeks
- Subacute sinusitis: Symptoms last 4-12 weeks
- Chronic sinusitis: Symptoms last 12 weeks or longer
- Recurrent sinusitis: Symptoms occur several times per year
Myth #2: Sinus surgery involves scraping or incisions
Endoscopic surgery is now the most common type of sinus surgery performed. This minimally invasive procedure, which is typically performed under general anesthesia, involves using a tiny camera and surgical instruments that are sent through the nose. Obstructive nasal tissue is removed, but no scraping is ever done as this would harm the mucosa lining in the nose.
Recently, an even less invasive out-patient in-office procedure called balloon sinuplasty has been developed to open obstructed nasal passages. Similar to how balloon angioplasty is used in heart surgery, balloon sinuplasty is performed by placing a small deflated balloon inside the sinus cavity and then filling the balloon with saline to expand the nasal passages. Balloon sinuplasty can be done as an in-office procedure while the patient reclines in a chair.
Myth #3: Sinus surgery has a lengthy recovery time
While recovery time after sinus surgery does depend on the patient’s overall general health and the type of surgery performed, most patients are completely recovered within 1-2 weeks. For the least minimally invasive sinus surgeries, recovery often takes only a few days.
Myth #4: Sinus surgery will cost too much
Most insurance plans do cover sinus surgery. Contact your insurance provider to find out what your sinus and nasal surgery policy says and to request a copy. You should call the insurance carrier twice to make sure you are given the same information.
If you are considering having sinus surgery, be sure to research any concerns you have. Talk to sinus surgery specialists Dr. Trimble and Dr. Wu to find out if you are a good candidate for a minimally invasive sinus procedure. With summer time upon us, this could be the ideal season to have a sinus surgery that could have you breathing easier.