Sniffles: The Three Kinds of Endoscopic Surgery

Endoscopic Surgery OngoingSinus surgery is becoming more popular as awareness regarding the effects of sinus diseases becomes wide spread. Sinus and nasal diseases can cause chronic headaches, facial pain, inability to breathe, fatigue, insufficient sleep, poor sense of smell and taste, all of which have drastic effects on your life. Fortunately, affliction with a sinus disease doesn’t mean you have to suffer through them much longer. The following briefly discusses the three different types of sinus surgeries to help alleviate your condition.


Functional endoscopic sinus surgery(FESS) is a procedure that revolutionized sinusitis surgery, which has been in practice since the 1950’s. The goal of this surgery is to open natural pathways to the sinuses, and give the diseased tissue time to heal once an improved drainage system is complete. This runs contrary to past procedures when all infected tissues of the sinus mucosa were simply removed.

Insertion of a fiber-optic tube into the patient’s nasal cavity allows doctors to get a direct visual examination without needlessly damaging healthy tissue. In the course of the examination, abnormal and obtrusive tissues are removed with the use of micro-instruments. Patients only experience mild swelling and discomfort directly after the surgery.

The procedure’s philosophy isn’t to completely remove all the diseased tissue, but merely to remove the obstructive ones the surgery finishes much sooner. FESS is also doable on an outpatient basis, meaning you don’t have to confine yourself in the hospital to get it. Your doctor may recommend nasal irrigation two weeks after the procedure to prevent crusting and nasal packing.

Image Guided Surgery

When you read the words “image guided surgery”, and are reminded of military drones, you’re not far off the mark. This procedure uses the same principles as the stealth programs of the United States military to guide their bombs to a designated target.

Image Guided Surgery uses a near three-dimensional mapping system that combines computed tomography (CT) scans, and real time information on the location of instruments inside the patient. This procedure was developed for operations in complex nasal passages that are near the brain, eyes, and major arteries.

Caldwell-Luc Operation

Perhaps the most specialized of the sinus surgeries, the Caldwell-Luc operation was developed by American George Caldwell, and Frenchman Henry Luc. The procedure was designed by improving the drainage in the maxillary sinus, the cavity located underneath the eyes.

The above was just a brief discussion touching up on the basic aspects of each sinus surgery. Learn more about these conditions by visiting your local EENT doctor.