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Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery For Rhinosinusitis


Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) removes tissue that blocks your sinus openings.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Endotracheal (ET) tube: An endotracheal tube may be put into your mouth or nose. It goes down into your windpipe to help keep your airway open and help you breathe. It may be hooked to a ventilator (breathing machine), and you may get extra oxygen through your ET tube. You will not be able to talk while the ET tube is in place.
  • Anesthesia:
    • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
    • Local anesthesia is a shot of medicine put into the area where your surgery will be done. It is used to numb the area and dull the pain. You may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery.

During your surgery:

An endotracheal tube connected to a breathing machine may be put into your mouth to help you breathe during surgery. Your healthcare provider will pass an endoscope and other small tools through your nostrils. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at the end. Your healthcare provider will then remove any tissue that is blocking your sinus openings. A small rotating burr may also be used to widen your sinuses or scrape away tissue. Samples of the tissues that are removed may be sent to the lab for tests. Your healthcare provider will control bleeding using a special device that seals blood vessels. Nasal packing, such as gauze or cotton, will be placed in your nostrils to prevent infection and control bleeding.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room. You may need to breathe through your mouth until the nasal packings are removed. A healthcare provider will remove the nasal packings to check the inside of your nose.

  • You may need to walk around the same day of surgery or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your healthcare provider says you can. Talk to healthcare providers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let healthcare providers know you need help.
  • You will be able to eat and drink gradually after surgery. You will begin with ice chips or clear liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your stomach does not become upset, you may then eat soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once you can eat soft foods easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods.
  • Medicines:
    • Antibiotics help prevent a bacterial infection.
    • An antihistamine may be given to relieve itching.
    • Antinausea medicine helps calm your stomach and prevents vomiting.
    • Decongestants may be given to treat a stuffy or clogged nose.
    • Immunoglobulin shots may be given to help make your immune system stronger.
    • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
    • Steroids may be given to decrease inflammation.


Problems may happen during FESS that may lead to more surgery. Your eyes, blood vessels, nerves, or your brain and its covering may get injured during surgery. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You could also have trouble breathing. Even after surgery, you may develop rhinosinusitis again.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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 (Inpatient Care)

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