Surgical Procedures for Sinusitis

The doctor may advise sinus surgery if a person has:

  • Long term sinusitis
  • Sinusitis that comes back often
  • Little or no relief from treatments
  • Complications from sinusitis
  • Nasal polyps that block the sinuses
  • Sinusitis from fungus

Surgical treatments include:

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)

This surgery uses an endoscope. An endoscope is a rigid tube with a light on one end. The tube is threaded into the nose and up into the sinus openings. This technique drains the sinuses and makes the sinus openings bigger. This lets the sinuses drain better.

Open Sinus Surgery

Open sinus surgery also makes the sinuses bigger for better drainage. It can also be used to remove infected sinus linings. This type of surgery is rarely used now. FESS is the preferred method.


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Chronic rhinosinusitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed November 15, 2021.
Li H, Zhang X, Song Y, Wang T, Tan G. Effects of functional endoscopic sinus surgery on chronic rhinosinus resistant to medication. J Laryngol Otol. 2014;128(11):986-980.
Sinusitis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: Accessed November 15, 2021.
Sinusitis overview. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: Accessed November 15, 2021.
Tajudeen BA, Kennedy DW. Thirty years of endoscopic sinus surgery: What have we learned? World J Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;3(2):115-121.
Last reviewed November 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 11/17/2021

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