Sinuses help moisturize your nose. They also affect the quality of your voice and play a role in your ability to breathe and smell clearly.
However, most people don’t give a second thought to what sinuses actually do until one or more of these cavities becomes blocked, inflamed, or irritated. If you are not responding well to the use of oral corticosteroids and other treatment efforts, you may be a good candidate for image-guided endoscopic sinus surgery.
What Is Image-Guided Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?
In a nutshell, it’s a minimally invasive outpatient procedure performed to correct or improve nasal and/or sinus problems. This type of surgery is often recommended when there is some type of blockage in the sinus passages. It’s considered minimally invasive because the techniques used are designed to be as non-disruptive as possible while still achieving the intended surgical goal.
Why Might It Be Necessary?
Recurring or chronic sinus infections are sometimes aggravated by sinus blockages that irritate or narrow sinus passages. This type of surgery may also be performed if a deviated septum is contributing to troublesome sinus symptoms.
Turbinate hypertrophy is the enlargement of structures in various parts of nasal passages that normally help filter the air you breathe. If these structures are too large or chronically swollen, you may experience breathing problems or chronic sinus infections. Surgical removal of enlarged turbinates may reverse these symptoms. This is also true if you have similar issues with non-cancerous growths called nasal polyps that are affecting airflow.
In some instances, small tumors that are cancerous may be removed with image-guided endoscopic procedures. However, the ability to do this safely and effectively will depend on whether or not other tissues are affected. Benign tumors blocking sinus passages may also be removed endoscopically with image guidance.
How is Image-Guided Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Performed?
A tube-like instrument called an endoscope is used to perform this type of surgery at UCI’s Sinus Surgery Center, which is usually done under general anesthesia. It has a light source attached to it along with a lens that produces an image that’s viewed on a monitor. The endoscope is inserted into the nose or affected sinus cavity via the nostrils.
With some sinus procedures, a computed tomography (CT) scan of the sinuses is done at the same time the endoscope is being used to perform sinus surgery. During procedures of this nature, the CT scan images are coupled with the specialized surgical instruments to provide enhanced real-time images for the surgeon. The goal with this approach to sinus surgery is to reduce the severity or frequency of sinus infections, improve airflow through the nose and sinus cavities, and, for some patients, to improve the ability to smell.
If image-guided endoscopic sinus surgery is right for you, you’ll likely benefit from a shorter recovery time since there are no incisions made to reach the affected area in nasal or sinus passages. Patients also tend to benefit from fewer risks associated with the procedure itself and less post-procedure pain. You’ll still need to be proactive about managing sinus conditions, however, to reduce your risk of experiencing additional sinus-related problems.