Frequently Asked Sinus Health Questions

 F.A.Q. – Sinus Health & You

1. Where will my surgery with Dr. Bennett be performed and what can I expect on the day of surgery?
2. What is recovery like after nasal or sinus surgery?
3. Will smoking affect my recovery after nose or sinus surgery?
4. How do I know if I am healthy enough to undergo surgery?
5. How long is the procedure?
6. Should I take time off from work following my procedure?
7. When can I start exercising again?
8. Will Dr. Bennett perform more than one surgery in addition to my sinuplasty or rhinoplasty?
9. How long must I wait after my initial consultation until my surgery is performed?
10. Will my health insurance cover my rhinoplasty or sinuplasty?
11. What is a deviated septum?
12. What is a nasal value?
13. What is a nasal turbinate?
14. Do deviated septums change the way my nose looks?
15. How do I know if my septum is deviated?
16. What is the cause of my difficulty in breathing?
17. Is my congestion a result of a deviated septum or merely allergies?
18. What forms of treatment exist for a deviated septum?
19. What is a septoplasty?
20. What is a revision septoplasty?
21. What is turbinate surgery?
22. What is a nasal fracture?
23. When should I seek treatment for a broken nose?
24. How Will Dr. Bennett diagnose a broken nose?
25. What forms of treatment are available to repair a broken nose?

1. Where will my surgery with Dr. Bennett be performed and what can I expect on the day of surgery?

Dr. Bennett performs sinus and nasal surgery at two locations: the Lenox Hill Hospital or the Center for Specialty Care, a state-of-the-art Upper East Side ambulatory facility. Regardless of the location, the process leading up the surgery is identical. You will be required to bring a chaperon with you, and you both should arrive approximately two hours before the surgery begins. You will also meet with a nurse, who will ask you about your medical history, give you a hospital gown to change into, and make sure your clothes and other belongings are safely stored.

Dr. Bennett will meet with you briefly before the surgery to ease your nerves and go over the plan you created together. Afterwards, the anesthesiologist will meet with you and then administer the anesthesia. After surgery, you will awake in the recovery room. Dr. Bennett will speak with you again before you leave and explain how the surgery went. About an hour later, you will be permitted to leave the hospital or care center with your chaperon.

2. What is recovery like after nasal or sinus surgery?

INSERT: INTERNAL LINK: Nasal Surgery Post Op Instructions

After you wake up from surgery, you will notice a small, plastic sprint over your nose. Dr. Bennett places this over the nose to keep it in place and stimulate healing. Note that you will likely not have any packing placed in your nose. Dr. Bennett’s surgical technique rarely requires packing the nose to stop bleeding. This means that you should be feeling back to your old self in no time.

If you notice a slight headache the first couple of days, do not be alarmed. This is normal. If you experience any other pain or discomfort, you can either take the pain medication prescribed to you by Dr. Bennett, or use an over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol.

You will also be instructed to clean any fluid that may drain from your nose. You may experience a small amount of bleeding from the nose also, but do not worry, this is also normal. Simply use the dressings that Dr. Bennett’s office staff provided you prior to your surgery, and use it to wipe it away.

Congestion is a final common symptom experienced by nose and sinus surgery patients. The swelling and bruising around the eyes and nose causes this congestion, but as the days and weeks go by, the swelling will decrease and you will feel less and less congestion. Remember not to blow your nose for the first two days so as not to cause any unnecessary trauma.

You will return to the office one week after surgery so that Dr. Bennett can assess how your healing has progressed. He will also remind you to continue to avoid strenuous exercise for three weeks and avoid wearing glasses for six weeks.

3. Will smoking affect my recovery after nose or sinus surgery?

Yes, smoking will negatively affect the way your nose heals after sinus surgery. The nicotine contained in cigarettes acts as a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it will decrease your blood supply. Without strong blood vessels, your nose will not heal as quickly as if you had stopped smoking. Smoking will also drastically increase the chances of infection, which could lead to additional surgery. Note that it is the nicotine in the cigarette smoke that is harmful, not the smoke itself, meaning that the nicotine patch and gum have the same negative effects as smoking an actual cigarette.

4. How do I know if I am healthy enough to undergo surgery?

Before your surgery, Dr. Bennett will perform a physical exam, to make sure that you are healthy enough for surgery. He will also ask you to relay your family medical history, to get an idea of your health background. These two requirements are necessary for any patient undergoing surgery, as only patients who are in stable condition may be operated upon.

5. How long is the procedure?

When undergoing a rhinoplasty or sinus surgery, the length of the procedure varies. Some patients require additional procedures along with a rhinoplasty or sinuplasty. A typical sinus procedure lasts approximately two hours, but can take as little as a half an hour, or as long as four hours.

During your consultation, Dr. Bennett will be sure to explain which procedures are in your best interest, as well as the length of time it will take to complete all procedures.

6. Should I take time off from work following my procedure?

It depends. Dr. Bennett recommends that patients take at least a day or two off from work in order to get the proper amount of rest required after sinus or nasal surgery. Depending upon the nature of your job (i.e. if it requires strenuous physical activity or manual labor) it would be best to take a week or more off from work, in order not to disturb the delicate healing process which must take place following your procedure.

The majority of Dr. Bennett’s patients are back to work within a few days of surgery.

7. When can I start exercising again?

Dr. Bennett reminds patients NOT to exercise for two weeks following a rhinoplasty or sinuplasty procedure. Strenuous activity can seriously damage your newly-healed nose – causing excess bleeding, swelling and bruising. After a few days, some light activity is okay – like walking. However, you must wait two weeks before your next yoga, spin or aerobics class. If you compete in contact sports such as hockey or football, you should wait six weeks before resuming these activities.

8. Will Dr. Bennett perform more than one surgery in addition to my sinuplasty or rhinoplasty?

Yes. In fact, Dr. Bennett prefers to combine procedures. It not only saves patients money, since you do not have to pay double the fees for anesthesia and the operating room, but it also minimizes your downtime, since you only have to go through one recovery period.

9. How long must I wait after my initial consultation until my surgery is performed?

It depends. Normally, Dr. Bennett is able to schedule you within a few weeks after you decide to move forward with surgery. So long as the appropriate forms are signed and Dr. Bennett clears you as a healthy candidate for surgery, you can move forward.

10. Will my health insurance cover my rhinoplasty or sinuplasty?

Dr. Bennett and his staff pride themselves on offering the most advanced nasal and sinus surgeries at a price that fits your lifestyle and budget.

Dr. Bennett accepts most insurance coverage and Meaghan, his Office Manager, acts as a liaison to make sure you receive the maximum coverage. If Dr. Bennett determines that your procedure is medically-necessary, or a result of a past trauma (i.e. a broken nose), a large portion of the total cost may be covered.

Insurance coverage varies from patient to patient. Stay informed and contact your insurance company before your initial consultation to understand how your benefits will apply to treatment.

11. What is a deviated septum?

Deviated septums are a condition that can result at birth or come about as a result of an injury to the nose, or previous nasal surgeries. There are a variety of symptoms associated with a deviated septum, most commonly congestion and difficulty breathing. Some may also experience snoring as a result of the condition.

To understand what a deviated septum is, first you must learn about the nasal septum. A nasal septum is a piece of cartilage and bone that separates the nose into two, equal cavities. When the septum is deviated, one cavity is shifted towards the mid-line, taking on a twisted or deformed appearance. Some septums are more deviated than others; in fact, nearly 80% of all septums are deviated to some extent. Only those with severely twisted septums require surgery to correct the problem.

12. What is a nasal valve?

The nasal value is the area where the septum and nasal cartilage meet. It is the narrowest part of the nose, making it also the area where the most congestion tends to become blocked. Some valves are especially narrow, caused by a deviated septum, enlarged turbinates, weak cartilage or thick scar tissue..

A narrow nasal valve can be treated via a procedure that uses cartilage grafts that work to clear the blockages from the nasal passages.

13. What is a nasal turbinate?

The nasal turbinates are the tissues that surround the nose. There are three types: inferior, middle and superior turbinates. They primarily consist of bone and tissue, and are lined with a mucous membrane. The outer membrane of the turbinates works as a filtration system: they clean the germs and other debris from the air and also work to humidify and warm the air once it passes into the nose.

Signs of congestion and difficulty breathing typically mean that there is a problem with the inferior turbinate. The inferior turbinate is the largest of the three and is located near the nasal airway. This turbinate can also increase in size based on certain conditions, including infection, allergies and sharp changes in temperature. An enlarged turbinate can obstruct the airway, leading to the classic symptoms of a sinus infection. Turbinate reduction surgery may be performed as a course of treatment for this condition to allow for proper drainage and normal breathing.

14. Do deviated septums change the way my nose looks?

Slight deviated septums generally do not change the outward appearance of the nose, and many people do not realize that their septum is deviated since their nose looks symmetrical.

However, some patients with severe deviated septums may show outward symptoms in the shape of the nose. For example, a large, crooked or hump nose may be a sign of a deviated septum.

15. How do I know if my septum is deviated?

Dr. Bennett employs the use of a CT scan to determine whether a patient’s septum is deviated. CT imaging is a type of x-ray that produces photo images of the interior of the nasal passages. After making a diagnosis and reviewing your scans, Dr. Bennett will show you your CT scan to point out any irregularities.

16. What is the cause of my difficulty in breathing?

Feeling congested and having difficulty breathing could be due to many different factors. Most commonly, patients with deviated septums report these symptoms. The second most common issue that leads to difficulty breathing is enlarged turbinates.

Additional causes for these symptoms include small nostrils, scar tissue build-up allergies or a narrow nasal valve.  During your consultation with Dr. Bennett, he will perform a comprehensive exam to determine the exact problem, and create a strategy for easing for your symptoms.

17. Is my congestion a result of a deviated septum or merely allergies?

Allergies are a common condition in the United States, affecting over 150 million Americans. The most shared form allergies that patients suffer from include mold, dust and domesticated animals. Treatment for allergies may take the form of antihistamines or allergy shots, often called immunotherapy.

To determine whether your nasal congestion, snoring and sinus headaches stem from a deviated septum or allergies Dr. Bennett performs a variety of tests. Note that some forms of congestion can be the result of both a deviated septum and allergies. After appropriately determining the cause of your nasal obstruction, Dr. Bennett works with you to develop a customized treatment plan tailored to your needs.

18. What forms of treatment exist for a deviated septum?

The two most popular methods of treating a deviated septum are medication and surgery, and sometimes a combination of the two. The form of treatment that is best for you depends on how severe your symptoms are, in conjunction with the degree of septal deviation.

Medication is a popular treatment method for those with only minor to moderate symptoms, and include the use of antihistamines, decongestants and steroid nasal sprays.

Surgery is an option for those with more severe symptoms, or if the medication route has shown little improvement in symptoms. A septoplasty is typically the procedure used to treat a deviated septum.

19. What is a septoplasty?

A septoplasty is a form of plastic surgery that corrects a deviated nasal septum. No incisions are required to perform the procedure, as the surgeon typically works entirely within the nostrils.

To repair the septum, the surgeon readjusts, removes or repositions bits of bone and cartilage that is causing the shift in the septum. The technique used depends heavily on each individual patient and the severity of the deviation. There are several different septoplasty techniques used by surgeons, including:

  • Goldman septoplasty
  • Fan septoplasty
  • Endoscopic septoplasty
  • Longitudinal septoplasty
  • Linear septoplasty
  • Submucous resection

Some patients choose to also undergo a rhinoplasty during a septoplasty procedure, since the latter does not alter the exterior appearance of the nose, while the former allows the surgeon to also make cosmetic improvements to the nose.

20. What is a revision septoplasty?

A revision septoplasty is merely another septoplasty procedure to treat additional problems that may surface after the primary procedure. For example, some patients may experience continued nasal congestion even after a septoplasty procedure, which may be attributed to the re-swelling of the nasal turbinates, nasal polyp growth or the fact that not enough cartilage was removed during the first procedure. Some patients may have persistent nasal and sinus symptoms after deviated septum surgery.

21. What is turbinate surgery?

Turbinate surgery is a procedure that reduces the size of the inferior nasal turbinates. It is also sometimes referred to as turbinoplasty. Like septoplasty, it is another procedure that is often combined with another nasal surgeries, such as rhinoplasty.

During the procedure, the surgeon reduces the size of the turbinates either by directly removing a percentage, moving the inside turbinate outward or removing the inside portion.

Also similar to a septoplasty, turbinate reduction surgery does not require exterior incisions. Following surgery, if the turbinates regrow, as is sometimes likely in certain patients, an additional surgery may be needed.

22. What is a nasal fracture?

Simply put, a nasal fracture is a broken nose. A broken nose means that the interior nasal bones have been fractured. Often times, the cartilage or nasal septum also suffers trauma in nasal fracture cases. The most common patients who suffer nasal fractures are those who engage in contact sports or have suffered a vehicle or motorcycle accident.

If you suspect you may have a broken nose, look for the following symptoms:

  • The outward appearance of the nose appears twisted or deformed.
  • You notice bruising and swelling on the nose.
  • Your nose feels tender, especially near the bridge.
  • You have one, or two black eyes, or the eyes are bruised.

23. When should I seek treatment for a broken nose?

As soon as you suspect you may have a broken nose, contact a facial plastic surgeon immediately. Some surgeons, including Dr. Bennett, will be able to schedule a surgery to repair your nose and have it looking back to normal within a few weeks of the accident.

24. How does Dr. Bennett diagnosis a broken nose?

In diagnosing a broken nose, Dr. Bennett will inquire about the details of your accident or sports injury, as well as ask you to provide a photograph of your nose before the incident.

Dr. Bennett also performs a physical exam to review the condition of the nasal septum, cartilage, nasal bones and mucus membranes. He may also recommend that you stop by across the street from his office to the center that can provide you with a CT scan. The CT scan wills how photographs of the interior structure of your nose, whereby Dr. Bennett can pinpoint where the fracture exists, and how it can be repaired.

25. What forms of treatment exist for a broken nose?

The most common treatment for a nasal fracture is surgery. Surgery allows the nasal bones to reshaped and re-positioned. You can elect to have local or general anesthesia, depending upon the severity of your injuries. After surgery, Dr. Bennett places a splint-like cast over the nose to protect it and jump start the healing process. You will wear the splint for approximately one week, after which Dr. Bennett will remove it during your follow-up appointment.

 

 

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