Sinusitis is often overlooked as a severe issue. In the United States of America, 12.1% of adults have been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis – which can be incredibly painful and uncomfortable.
Symptoms of sinusitis range from milder symptoms such as excess mucous in the nasal cavity, a cough, bad breath, and tooth pain to more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, migraines, fever, and loss of taste and smell. These symptoms are caused by the mucous’ inability to drain out of the face effectively which causes a build-up of mucous.
Typically treatment will be initiated by a general practitioner in order to treat the symptoms and clear any sinus ailments. It takes around 3 months for the symptoms of sinusitis to be relieved through treatment. If the patient does not show any improvement then it is considered to be chronic sinusitis and will need to be seen to by an otolaryngologist (also known as an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist) who will determine whether or not surgery is a necessary course of action.
Sinus surgery is only recommended for patients who have undergone every kind of non-surgical sinusitis treatment, have cancer in the nasal cavity, have a sinus infection which has spread into the bone, or any other severe reason which cannot be treated otherwise – even with aggressive treatment. This is due to the fact that sinus surgery is not to be taken lightly.
If the surgery goes wrong, it can result in loss of vision, bleeding, and infection. It can take months to fully recover from sinusitis surgery and the steps taken to recover are considered to be just as important as the surgery itself. The patient needs to be aware of the recovery process and must be committed to seeing their ENT post-surgery to ensure the healing process runs smoothly.
Due to the various causes of chronic sinusitis which may lead to sinusitis surgery, the recovery time can vary greatly from operation to operation. Individuals also tend to recover at different rates to one another – so the type of surgery performed and the patient are the determiners for recovery time.
Generally the time it takes to feel relief from discomfort, drainage, and congestion is only a few days, up to one week. Some people experience high levels of pain and others do not. Pain is often easily remedied by prescription painkillers.
Bleeding is a common side effect of sinusitis surgery. It is important to not aggravate the area through sneezing and patients are advised to not sneeze or blow their noses within the first 7 days of sinusitis surgery. The trick to avoiding sneezing is to cough as soon as you feel a sneeze coming on. High-impact exercises such as running and high-intensity exercises such as weight-training should be avoided and they can also cause bleeding post-surgery.
Patients are expected to feel fatigued during this recovery time due to the strain which the body has undergone through surgery and the amount of energy the body is putting into recovery.
Antibiotics and steroids are often prescribed during this recovery period. Antibiotics ensure that no infections occur which could cause damage to the nasal cavity and the steroids make a smoother recovery by reducing inflammation.