A condition in which the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed.

Acute sinusitis can be triggered by a cold or allergies and may resolve on its own. Chronic sinusitis lasts for more than 4 weeks and may be caused by an infection or growths.

Symptoms include headache, facial pain, runny nose and nasal congestion.

What is chronic sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the mucous membranes that line the sinus cavities. This can interfere with normal sinus drainage and cause increased mucus production.

If you have chronic sinusitis, which is often not associated with an infection, you may experience recurrent or continuing symptoms that do not respond to treatment. These symptoms are more subtle and generally do not include fever. The symptoms of chronic sinusitis may vary greatly and last for months or years if untreated.

What is functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS)?

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery is a minimally invasive technique used to restore sinus ventilation and normal function. The most suitable candidates for this procedure have recurrent acute or chronic infective sinusitis, and an improvement in symptoms of up to 90 percent may be expected following the procedure. Fiberoptic telescopes are used for diagnosis and during the procedure, and computed tomography is used to assess the anatomy and identify diseased areas. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery should be reserved for use in patients in whom medical treatment has failed. The procedure can be performed under general or local anesthesia on an outpatient basis, and patients usually experience minimal discomfort. The complication rate for this procedure is lower than that for conventional sinus surgery.

FESS is a minimally-invasive approach to the sinus cavities using endoscopes (telescopes) to view the important structures of the nose and sinuses. The endoscope is inserted through the nose. The view with the endoscope allows for better identification of the underlying disease, which in turn allows the surgeon to be precise, careful, and thorough with minimal damage to normal surrounding tissue. All sinuses can be viewed directly during FESS and obstructing tissue or disease can be removed as indicated. FESS allows for less tissue removal, more rapid tissue healing, and shorter recovery periods. The surgery is often performed on an outpatient basis.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is a minimally invasive technique in which sinus air cells and sinus ostia are opened under direct visualization. The goal of this procedure is to restore sinus ventilation and normal function.


Today, Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) is one of the most common surgical methods to treat chronic sinus infections. In a FESS procedure, the surgeon uses a magnifying endoscope to see and remove affected tissue and bone.

Before FESS, surgeons cut directly into the outside of the face to find the problem and remove it, increasing infection risk and recovery time. FESS is a more precise, less invasive way to open the sinuses and help restore you to better health.

The three sinus procedures discussed here (as well as others) may be performed using FESS. Which one your ENT doctor uses depends on what’s causing your problem. In general, the goal of sinus surgery is to flush out infected material, open up blocked passages, and keep enough healthy tissue so that your nose and sinuses can function normally.

At the end of your sinus surgery, your doctor may also use the innovative Hydrodebrider™ System. This special device delivers a powered spray to “wash out” your sinuses, helping to remove the bacteria associated with chronic sinus infections.

Once the procedure is finished, temporary nasal packing will be placed in your nose to support the newly opened sinus passages and to absorb excess fluid while your tissues heal. If your doctor uses traditional nasal packing, it will have to be removed by your doctor after surgery, which can be painful. Medtronic offers dissolvable nasal packing that is gradually resorbed by the body and doesn’t require removal.