Sinus Surgery

Chronic sinusitis can make a child miserable. Children get sinusitis when the tiny passages which drain the sinuses into the nose are blocked and can’t drain. Now improved surgical techniques make it possible to open a child’s sinus passages. . . and the results are like magic.

Lance’s sinusitis started several years ago. Antibiotics, allergy treatment and steroid sprays didn’t help. As soon as Lance finished one course of antibiotics, he got a new infection.

Sinusitis is an infection in the paranasal sinuses, those air spaces in the face that are attached to the nose. It’s an inflammatory process usually caused by bacteria.

Children get sinusitis when the openings to the sinuses are narrowed or obstructed by tiny pieces of bone. During a cold or allergy, they can’t drain properly. This causes a thick discharge and difficult breathing. Surgery removes the bone and opens the nasal passages.

Sinus surgery is always dangerous and we are very hesitant to do it in children for that reason. The whole time we are operating, we’re within a millimeter of the eye and of the brain.

Because this tiny lighted telescope called an endoscope fits into a child’s nose, Lance didn’t need an incision. With the scope, the doctor can look inside the nose and sinuses.

After the surgery, there is a wide opening into the nose to allow drainage during an infection and good ventilation of the sinuses between infections.

Debbie, Lance’s mother:
“I see a big difference in his well-being. He’s like a regular child, if he ever gets a cold which he did have one, he had proper drainage and he got over his cold symptoms quite quickly.”

Approximately one third of children have sinus infections at least once during the winter. But only one percent have sinusitis so severe that they need surgery. Children with severe asthma and children who are getting chemotherapy who have sinusitis are more likely to need surgery.

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