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Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery For Rhinosinusitis


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


The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your healthcare provider. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your provider if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe steroids and other medicines to prevent swelling or infection. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these medicines.
  • You may need blood tests before your surgery. You may also need to have a CT scan, chest or paranasal sinus x-rays, a nasal endoscopy, or an anterior rhinoscopy. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your surgery:

  • You may be given medicine to help you sleep.
  • Ask healthcare providers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your healthcare provider before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Providers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Healthcare providers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

You will be given local anesthesia or general anesthesia to make you sleep during 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 cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have swelling over the forehead, eyes, side of the nose, or cheeks.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have a fever, stiff neck, or eye pain when you look directly at light.
  • You have a sudden, severe headache.
  • You have blood or foul-smelling discharge coming from your nose.
  • You have trouble breathing, seeing, or smelling.


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.

Care Agreement

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.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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 (Precare)

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