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Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (often shortened to FESS) is a fairly recently developed surgical procedure for operating on the sinus. A nasal endoscope, which is a very thin telescopic device, is inserted into the nose and the surgeon operating the endoscope can view inside the nasal cavity and carry out any necessary surgery with a set of tools attached to the endoscope.

Before the introduction of FESS, the surgeon had to make incisions on the skin around the mouth and face to perform the same surgery, which could be painful and resulted in a much longer recovery period.

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery is an option for a number of conditions affecting the nose and sinuses such as chronic rhinosinusitis (if it has not responded to other treatments), removal of nasal polyps or other growths inside the nasal cavity, and even for surgery on the eye sockets or sections of the brain.

FESS is regarded as a ‘last resort’ procedure, and is recommended where non-surgical treatments have been tried and have failed to alleviate the condition. In most cases you should continue with any existing treatment(s) for the condition after surgery.  In fact surgery may not cure the condition but may be part of a programme to manage your condition.

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery is performed under either local or general anaesthesia and – depending on the precise nature of the surgery – generally takes from half an hour up to several hours.

The surgeon will remove diseased tissue or any tissue blocking airways and/or drainage from the sinuses and may also remove any other tissue causing problems in the nasal cavity.  This may include the septum (the structure separating the two airways of the nose) and/or the turbinates (small tissue folds that are attached to the walls of the nose and humidify air inhaled through the nose).

You can generally return home on the same day, as long as you are accompanied. Bed rest is recommended for three to five days after surgery, although full recovery may take around three weeks or longer.

You may need to see Dr Chang during the recovery period to ensure that any mucus/dry blood is removed. Full recovery will depend on closely following Dr Chang’s post operative care instructions, especially with regard to continuing other treatments and avoiding blowing your nose and strenuous exercise during the recovery period.