Breath Deep: 5 Myths About Sinus Surgery
Sinus surgery may sound frightening, but it doesn’t have to be. The fact is that sinus surgery procedures have been performed millions of times across the world, and have helped millions of people breathe easier and have better sinus function. We are going to approach 5 myths about sinus surgery that tend to be the least understood. If you have difficulty breathing or often feel congested, sinus surgery may be right for you.
Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding sinus surgery that make prospective patients dismiss the potential benefits of treatment as an option. Here are 5 myths about sinus surgery along with 5 explanations to debunk them. If you are considering sinus surgery then you are doing the right thing by researching your concerns so you can feel and breathe better.
Myth 1. Sinuses naturally drain over time
For most people, yes. But if you’re considering getting sinus surgery, chances are your sinuses aren’t draining properly. And when they do drain, it isn’t complete and doesn’t last for very long.
The truth is that sinusitis can affect anyone, and can be caused by anything from allergies to the common cold to nasal polyps (which many people may not even know they have). Cheek and forehead pain and a runny, stuffy nose are both common symptoms that can last for as long as 4 weeks in cases of acute sinusitis. Subacute sinusitis can last up to 12 weeks, and chronic and recurrent sinusitis can last beyond 3 months and indefinitely without treatment.
Myth 2. Sinus surgery involves external surgical incisions or scraping
Minimally invasive sinus surgery does open or remove obstructed passes and sinus cells in the nose. In some cases, sinus surgery can be even more minimally invasive and might not involve any surgical tissue removal at all (which is precisely why balloon sinuplasty was developed).
And, in any case, no one is ever “scraping” your sinuses during a procedure. Scraping would remove the delicate mucosa lining the bony structures inside the nose. This would cause more crusting and bleeding and slow the process of healing. So if that sounds extra painful, no worries. You’d never have to experience it.
Myth 3. Nose packing is really uncomfortable
Dr. Bennett almost never packs the nose when performing any type of nasal surgery. You may have heard stories from older patients who received sinus surgery 10 to 20 years ago about nose packing thought to prevent bleeding after procedures. Nose packing was very uncomfortable and with modern surgical techniques is rarely needed. Today, there are hemostatic foams that can used only when needed to reduce bleeding post-surgery. Ask your surgeon about their technique as some surgeons still will pack the nose.
Myth 4. Recovering from sinus surgery takes a long time
As with any patient undergoing surgery, recovery time depends on the overall health of the patient and the type of procedure being performed. In the grand scheme of time spent recovering from a surgery, sinus procedures fall toward the less-time-intensive end of the spectrum, with recovery usually taking anywhere from a couple days, for minimally invasive operations, to two weeks, for more complex procedures. This amount of time pales in comparison to, say, repairing a torn ACL, which can take anywhere between six and nine months to fully recover from. Most sinus surgeries end up requiring less time, as opposed to more, and patients are usually finished with the recovery process within a week or two.
Myth 5. Sinus surgery is expensive
Nearly all health insurance plans cover sinus surgery, while very few do not. Check with your doctor or provider to see if sinus surgery is covered by your plan. You are within your rights to ask your insurance carrier for a copy of your sinus and nasal surgery policy. Call your insurance carrier at least twice to make sure you get the same answer twice or have your doctor’s office call.
As you can see, none of these myths are real reasons you shouldn’t talk to your doctor about sinus surgery. Once again, if you have difficulty breathing or often feel congested, sinus surgery may be right for you.