Do I need sinus surgery?

What is sinusitis?

Sinuses are cavities around the eyes and nose, inside the front section of the skull. Sinusitis is a medical condition where the tissue lining of the sinuses are inflamed and swollen. This causes mucus to accumulate in the sinuses, causing difficulty in breathing through the nose and swelling of the eyes and face.

Sinusitis can occur for a few weeks or may persist for a long time. Sinusitis that lasts for more than 3 months despite medical treatment is called chronic sinusitis.

What causes sinusitis?

Sinusitis is most often caused by the common cold, which is caused by a viral infection, and sometimes, it is caused by a bacterial infection. Sinusitis can also be triggered by allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, which is a type of inflammation of the nose.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

  • Nasal congestion that causes difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • A feeling of pressure and pain around the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • A headache
  • Ear pressure
  • Cough
  • A fever
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue

When do I need sinus surgery?

There are cases where the best treatment for sinus problems is sinus surgery. Sinus surgery may be considered when:

  • You have chronic sinusitis.
  • You don’t get relief from your medicine, nasal rinses, or other treatments
  • You have nasal polyps or abnormal tissue growth in the nose
  • You have a sinus infection caused by a fungus that cannot be cleared up with antibiotics
  • You have an infection that spreads beyond your sinuses

What are the types of sinus surgery?

If you decide to get surgery, there are a few options available. Among these are functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) and balloon sinuplasty.

A) Functional endoscopic sinus surgery

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is a minimally invasive surgical treatment which uses nasal endoscopes to enlarge the nasal drainage pathways, improving sinus ventilation by removal of polyps and scar tissues.

B) Balloon sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty is a type of minimally invasive endoscopic nasal surgery. It uses flexible balloon catheters that inflate to drain the large nasal sinuses.


It is often possible to treat sinusitis with medications, nasal rinses or other treatments. If you have symptoms of a sinusitis that lasts longer than 7–10 days, please seek medical attention from an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.

Dr Leong Hoo Kwong

Consultant ENT Surgeon

Nobel ENT Centre

Gleneagles Medical Centre,

6 Napier Road, #10-04 S(258499)

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