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Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery For Rhinosinusitis


  • Functional endoscopic (EN-do-skop-ik) sinus surgery, also called FESS, is surgery to treat rhinosinusitis. Rhinosinusitis is a condition where the mucous membranes in the nose and sinuses become infected, swollen, and blocked. The sinuses are air-filled spaces in the bones of the face and head. They are located between the eyes, behind the forehead, and in the cheeks. The sinuses drain mucus through small openings that are connected to the inside of the nose. They play an important role in how we breathe and make mucous secretions.
  • During your surgery, an endoscope and other small tools will be passed through your nostrils. An endoscope is a metal tube with a light and tiny video camera on the end. This allows your caregiver to remove small amounts of bone or other materials blocking the sinus openings. These openings where sinuses naturally drain are used to insert the endoscope without destroying important mucous membrane lining. Your caregiver may also do stereotaxy, where scanned images of your head will show pictures in three-dimensional (3-D) views. This will help him clearly see the nasal passages and sinuses while watching the images in a monitor. Stereotaxy will enable your caregiver to find the sinuses with blockages and other problems more accurately. With FESS, symptoms of rhinosinusitis may be relieved and your quality of life improved.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Your caregiver may slowly decrease the amount of steroid medicine you are using. Do not change the amount or stop using this medicine until your caregiver tells you to.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Home care:

  • Avoid blowing your nose too hard. If you cannot avoid blowing your nose, do it gently or use a soft rubber suction bulb.
  • Drink lots of liquids. These include water, fruit juices, milk, or energy drinks. Limit the amount of caffeine you drink, such as coffee, tea, and soda. Ask your caregiver if you must limit the amount of liquid you drink.
  • Rinse your nose with salt water. Washing your nose may help your thick mucous come out with blowing. Ask your caregiver for more information on how to prepare and do nasal washings.
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier. This adds moisture to the air and helps thin the nasal discharge. This can also help keep you from getting colds. Wash the humidifier each day with soap and warm water to keep it free of germs.
  • Wash hands frequently. Wash your hands especially after coming into contact with a person who has a cold. This will help prevent the spread of germs. Germ-killing hand lotion or gel may be used to clean your hands when there is no water available.

Nasal packing:

Ask your caregiver how long the nasal packings will stay inside your nose. If these are to be removed and replaced at home, ask your caregiver how to properly do them.

Do not smoke:

If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have bruises or swelling around your nose or eyes.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
  • Your nasal packing becomes soaked with blood.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, condition, or care.


  • You have a fever, stiff neck, or an eye pain especially when looking directly at the lights.
  • You have a severe headache that does not go away even after taking pain medicines.
  • You have clear fluid coming from your nose.
  • You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your nose.
  • You have trouble breathing, seeing, talking, or thinking clearly.
  • Your face is getting numb.
  • Your symptoms come back or become worse.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery For Rhinosinusitis (Aftercare Instructions)

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