Sinus Endoscopy

What is a Sinus Endoscopy?

Sinus endoscopy is a procedure that may be used to check for and treat problems with the sinuses. The sinuses are air-filled spaces in the skull that are behind the bones of the face and forehead. They open into the nasal cavity.

For this procedure, a thin, lighted device (endoscope) is passed through the nose and into the sinuses. The endoscope has a small camera that sends images to a screen in the room. It allows your health care provider to look into the nose and sinuses and check for the cause of any problems you are having.

During the endoscopy, your health care provider may also do procedures to treat any problems found. This might include widening the passageway between your sinuses and your nose to improve drainage, or removing abnormalities such as polyps.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
  • Any blood disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems may occur, including:

  • Bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Allergic reactions to medicines.
  • Damage to the nasal passage or tissue lining the sinuses.
  • Fainting.

What happens before the procedure?

Medicines

  • You may be asked to use one or more types of nose spray before the procedure to prepare your nasal passages. Use these as told by your health care provider. This is important.
  • Ask your health care provider about:
    • Changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.
    • Taking medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines can thin your blood. Do not take these medicines unless your health care provider tells you to take them.
    • Taking over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements.

Eating and drinking restrictions

Follow instructions from your health care provider about eating and drinking, which may include:

  • 8 hours before the procedure – stop eating heavy meals or foods such as meat, fried foods, or fatty foods.
  • 6 hours before the procedure – stop eating light meals or foods, such as toast or cereal.
  • 6 hours before the procedure – stop drinking milk or drinks that contain milk.
  • 2 hours before the procedure – stop drinking clear liquids.

General instructions

  • If you will be given a sedative or a general anesthetic during the procedure, you should plan to have someone take you home from the hospital or clinic.
  • You may have a CT scan of your sinuses.

What happens during the procedure?

  • You may have an IV inserted into one of your veins.
  • You may be given one or more of the following:
    • A medicine to help you relax (sedative).
    • A medicine to numb the area (local anesthetic).
    • A medicine to make you fall asleep (general anesthetic).
  • The endoscope will be inserted into one nostril at a time. It will be passed through your nose to view your sinuses.
  • Pictures may be taken of any abnormalities that are found in your sinuses.
  • Treatments of these abnormalities may also be performed through the endoscope, such as removing polyps or widening the opening of the sinuses into the nose.

The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level will be monitored until you leave the hospital or clinic.
  • You may have to wait to eat or drink until the medicines you were given have worn off.
  • Do not drive for 24 hours if you were given a sedative.

Summary

  • Sinus endoscopy is a procedure that may be used to check for and treat problems with the sinuses.
  • For this procedure, a thin, lighted device (endoscope) is passed through the nose and into the sinuses.
  • During the endoscopy, your health care provider may also do procedures to treat any problems found.

Sinus Endoscopy, Care After

This sheet gives you information about how to care for yourself after your procedure. Your health care provider may also give you more specific instructions. If you have problems or questions, contact your health care provider.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, it is common to have:

  • Temporary discomfort in the sinus area.
  • Minor bleeding.
  • Minor irritation or damage to the lining of the nose, mouth, and throat (mucous membranes).

Depending on any treatments performed during your procedure, you may also have:

  • Sinus discomfort.
  • Headache.
  • Nasal stuffiness (congestion).
  • Nasal drainage.
  • Dry nasal passages.

Follow these instructions at home:

Medicines

  • Take or use over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • If you were prescribed an antibiotic medicine, use it as told by your health care provider. Do not stop using the antibiotic even if your condition improves.
  • Use nasal sprays and nasal rinses as told by your health care provider.

General instructions

  • Avoid blowing your nose and sneezing.
  • Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
  • Keep your head raised (elevated) for the first few nights after surgery, or as directed by your healthcare provider. This helps to decrease inflammation.
  • Return to your normal activities as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have pain or discomfort that does not get better with over-the-counter medicine.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have more clear fluid or blood coming from your nose.
  • You have pus or a bad smell coming from your nose.
  • You have nausea and vomiting.

Get help right away if:

  • You have bleeding from the nose that does not stop.
  • You have changes in your vision.
  • You cannot stop vomiting.

Summary

  • After a sinus endoscopy, it is common to have temporary discomfort in the sinus area.
  • If you were prescribed an antibiotic medicine, use it as told by your health care provider. Do not stop using the antibiotic even if you start to feel better.
  • Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
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