Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Sinus Surgery for Sinusitis

In traditional sinus surgery, an opening is made into the sinus. The opening may be made from inside the mouth or through the skin of the face.

  • There are a number of possible approaches depending on the location of the infected sinus camera.gif and what the doctor prefers.
  • Working through the incision, the doctor can remove tissue that is blocking the sinus and preventing drainage.
  • More extensive procedures may involve leaving a temporary opening to help drain the infection.

Most of these procedures require admission to a hospital.

What To Expect After Surgery

Recovery from surgery may involve:

  • Packing the nose with gauze to absorb blood and other drainage. The packing may be changed several times a day or left in place for a few days.
  • Using saltwater nasal washes (saline lavage or irrigation) to keep the sinuses moist.
  • Avoiding activities such as blowing the nose, strenuous exercise, and bending forward for a few days.
  • Using a humidifier to keep room air moist, especially in the bedroom.

Why It Is Done

Traditional sinus surgery may be done if:

How Well It Works

Traditional surgery is an effective method of treating chronic sinusitis or sinusitis that has caused complications.1


Serious risks include:

  • Heavy bleeding.
  • Leakage of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
  • Inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain (meningitis).
  • Blindness.
  • Death.

What To Think About

Endoscopic surgery has become the standard type of surgery done for chronic sinusitis. But traditional surgery is still the best choice in certain cases. The type of surgery you have will depend on which sinuses are affected and how severely they are damaged.1 To learn more, see the topic Endoscopic Surgery for Sinusitis.

Surgical treatment of sinusitis should be considered only when more conservative approaches, such as home treatment and medications, have failed.

Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.


  1. Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (2005). The diagnosis and management of sinusitis: A practice parameter update. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 116(6 Suppl): S13-S47.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerPatrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerDonald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Remember your finger
Are You Getting More Forgetful?
fruit drinks
Eat these to think better.
No gym workout
Moves to help control blood sugar.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Close up of eye
12 reasons you're distracted.
birth control pills
Which kind is right for you?
embarrassed woman
Do you feel guilty after eating?
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
woman biting a big ice cube
Habits that wreck your teeth.
pacemaker next to xray
Treatment options.
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.