Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

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Endoscopic Sinus Surgery in Kirkland, WA

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis each year, an uncomfortable condition caused by swelling and blockages in the sinuses. While many of these people are able to manage their condition with medication and lifestyle adjustments, others have not found success with conventional treatments. For these individuals, chronic sinus problems can significantly impact their day-to-day life.

Luckily, there’s an alternative to nasal sprays and other conservative treatments for sufferers of chronic sinusitis: minimally-invasive endoscopic sinus surgery. Dr. Sunil Ummat, MD, is a board-certified ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) specialist at NW Face Medical with over 15 years of ENT expertise. He routinely performs endoscopic sinus surgery for patients in Kirkland and Bellevue, WA and throughout the Seattle area.

What is Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?

Endoscopic sinus surgery is a surgical procedure that is performed to remove blockages in the sinuses. While there are different types of sinus surgeries, endoscopic sinus surgery allows the surgeon to address problems in the sinuses without having to make an external incision.

Endoscopic surgery is different from conventional sinus surgery in that an endoscope (a tiny flexible tube with a camera on the end) is used to view the nasal cavity and sinuses internally. This allows the doctor to see problem areas without the need for external incisions. This procedure is a great option for many patients who have not had success with conventional medication, as endoscopic sinus surgery treats the root of the problem and removes physical blockages.

Why Choose Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?

Individuals with recurring and/or severe sinus infections and chronic sinusitis that is unresponsive to conservative therapies often benefit greatly from endoscopic sinus surgery. Goals of this surgery include reducing the number of severe sinus infections, improving symptoms associated with sinusitis, increasing the amount of oxygen flow through the nose, and restoring the patient’s sense of smell.

Am I a Candidate for Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?

Ideal candidates for endoscopic sinus surgery in Kirkland, WA include individuals who have chronic sinusitis and have not had success with medication or other treatments. People suffering from nasal polyps, turbinate hypertrophy, a deviated septum, sleep apnea, chronic nasal congestion, and sinus headaches may also be good candidates for this procedure. Individuals seeking endoscopic surgery should be generally in good health and should be non-smokers (or temporarily able to quit at least several weeks before and after the procedure).

The Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Consultation

Prior to the procedure, patients will schedule an initial endoscopic sinus surgery consultation in Kirkland, WA with Dr. Sunil Ummat. The doctor will discuss the patient’s medical history during the consultation and go over any past treatments for sinus problems.  If any CT scans or MRIs have been taken, it is important that the patient bring these on the first visit so that the doctor can make the most accurate assessment possible and determine candidacy for surgery.

Based on the doctor’s evaluation, medical therapy may be prescribed before scheduling surgery. If this treatment plan proves to be successful, endoscopic sinus surgery may not be needed. If medication does not produce the desired results, the procedure will be scheduled provided that the individual is a good candidate.

Preparing for Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Before the day of the appointment, the doctor will prescribe several medications to reduce inflammation. He will explain when to start the medication before and after surgery. Prior to surgery, the patient will need medical clearance from their primary care physician and sometimes a note and/or physical exam. The doctor may order lab tests from the patient’s primary care doctor to ensure that it is safe to move forward with surgery.

Patients who smoke must stop for 3-4 weeks before surgery in order to keep sinus symptoms at bay. This period of non-smoking will also allow for proper healing after surgery and help keep any scar tissue to a bare minimum. The doctor will also go over any medications that will need to be stopped for a period of time before surgery. This will be discussed during the consultation. Dr. Ummat may recommend a nasal saline mist to be used every 3-4 hours to keep the nose moist.

The night before surgery, the patient should refrain from eating or drinking anything after midnight. Individuals taking medications should clarify during the consultation whether or not these can be taken the morning of the procedure.

The Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Procedure

Dr. Sunil Ummat performs endoscopic sinus surgery at our Kirkland, WA medical facility. The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia, but local anesthesia is sufficient in some cases. The type of anesthesia to be used will be discussed during the consultation. It is important to follow all of the doctor’s instructions, including not eating or drinking after midnight the day before surgery. Not following these instructions may result in postponing the procedure since anesthesia cannot be safely administered if the patient has eaten recently.

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, Dr. Ummat will insert an endoscope, or a tiny camera, through the nose. This allows for an unobstructed view of the sinus tissue within minutes of insertion. A miniature surgical instrument is inserted with the endoscope in order to scrape away small amounts of bone and other material blocking the sinus. Any nasal polyps or scar tissue are gently removed. Sometimes, a laser is used to cut through tissue that may be blocking the sinuses. If needed, the septum is straightened and the turbinates are reduced.  The entire procedure takes 30 to 90 minutes on average. Most patients are able to return home between two and three hours after surgery.

Recovering from Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Following surgery, patients are advised to rest and take at least one week off of work to assist in proper healing. Post-operative care instructions given by the doctor should be followed closely. Immediately after endoscopic sinus surgery, it is normal to feel tired, whether local or general anesthesia was used. Two to three hours after the procedure, the patient should feel well enough to be driven home by a trusted friend or family member.

For three to five days after surgery, bleeding and sinus pressure is normal. Ibuprofen prescribed by the doctor for any swelling and discomfort should also help with nasal or sinus pressure and bleeding. If bleeding is steady, patients should tilt their head back slightly and gently breathe through their nose. Dabbing the nose lightly is fine, but patients should avoid any nose blowing. If the bleeding still does not stop, Afrin spray can be used. Typically, the blood should stop within several sprays.

Some minor discomfort and bleeding are common during the first two weeks after surgery. The doctor may schedule weekly follow-up visits for up to three weeks to remove all dried blood and mucus. There can often be some minor discomfort during these cleanings so patients are advised to take pain medication before the visit.

What Are Possible Side Effects or Risks of Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?

All surgeries involve certain risks. Endoscopic sinus surgery is no exception, though complications tend to be very rare. Potential risks and complications may include bleeding, infection, anesthesia complications, changes in breathing, smell, or vision, and swelling, bruising, and numbness. Working with a reputable and board-certified ENT doctor will keep any risks to a bare minimum.

Why Should I Choose Dr. Sunil Ummat to Perform My Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?

Dr. Sunil Ummat, MD, is an ENT specialist. He is double board-certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. With nearly two decades of experience, Dr. Ummat has been praised for his work in endoscopic surgery, performing more than 6,000 endoscopic surgeries for disorders of the nose and sinuses. He has also taken a role in the development of SomnoFix™, a new technology which evaluates and treats snoring and sleep apnea. The doctor and his team take pride in their strong reputation and in their ability to rank among the top clinics in Kirkland, Bellevue, and Seattle, WA for endoscopic sinus surgery.  

Frequently Asked Questions About Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

When is endoscopic sinus surgery necessary?

Patients with chronic sinus infections often find that medical treatment and lifestyle changes are able to keep symptoms under control. However, some patients do not respond well enough to medication and lifestyle modification alone and require surgery to address the root cause of their chronic nose or sinus issues. The severity of the symptoms, the patient’s health, and CT scan results will all help determine whether or not surgery is the best option.

How long is recovery time?

Recovery time depends on the patient’s health and the specific type of endoscopic sinus surgery that is performed. Typically, one week off from work or school is recommended. Some people recover faster and others will take longer. Your doctor should provide detailed instruction on how to promote a speedy recovery.

What causes sinusitis and how do I know if endoscopic sinus surgery will work for me?

Sinusitis can be caused by a variety of factors, either anatomical (i.e. deviated septum or enlarged nasal turbinates), inflammatory response to a virus, bacterial or fungal infection, severe allergies, polyps, a developmental disorder such as cystic fibrosis, or tumors in the sinus region. The cause of your sinusitis will help determine whether or not endoscopic sinus surgery is right for you.

Will Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Cure My Sinus Problems?

While endoscopic sinus surgery cures or greatly improves symptoms for most patients, surgery may not provide a complete cure for everyone. Sometimes, a second surgery is needed. Additional medical therapy is also recommended if allergies or polyps are to blame for the patient’s sinusitis. This should help prevent recurring sinus problems.

Dr. Sunil Ummat, MD alongside his team of caring and skilled professionals at NW Face Medical, has performed over 6,000 endoscopic sinus surgeries for patients throughout Bellevue and Kirkland, WA and across the Seattle area. The doctor is known for his high attention to detail and outstanding patient care. To request a consultation with one of the best endoscopic sinus surgeons in Kirkland, WA, call our office at (425) 522-0555.

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