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Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) widens the passage between the sinus and the nose to improve drainage from your sinuses.

Why you might need it

You may be experiencing Chronic Sinusitis, an infection of the mucous membrane that lines the sinuses causing pain, a blocked nose, discharge, reduced sense of smell, the feeling of mucus at the back of your nose or throat, chronic headaches, or lethargy.

If your GP has diagnosed you with Chronic Sinusitis, they may refer you to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist consultant.

Your Consultation

You will have a consultation with an ENT consultant, during which you can discuss your symptoms and any questions that you may have. Your consultant will discuss the procedure with you so you know exactly what to expect. Your consultant may also discuss if any further diagnostic tests may be needed, such as a blood test or scan, with you.

The Procedure

Endoscopic sinus surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic however for a minor procedure, the procedure may be done under local anaesthetic, meaning you will still be awake however your sinus area will be numbed. You may also be offered a sedative to help you relax if you are having a local anaesthetic.

Your surgeon will have explained to you, during your consultation, what procedure you will need following their examination of your nose and any other diagnostic tests they recommend.

In Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS), your surgeon will use an endoscope, a thin, flexible telescope with a light and camera at its tip, to see inside your sinuses. They will then use special instruments to remove inflamed tissue, any blockages or polyps (an abnormal growth of tissue projecting from a mucous membrane).

Another type of operation that may be used is Balloon Sinuplasty. This is where your surgeon puts a small, flexible tube into your sinus and inflates a balloon on the end of it to unblock the sinus and help it to drain properly.

Your doctor will discuss with you, which operation they suggest is best for you.


Following the procedure you will be taken to a recovery room to recuperate until you are ready to go home, which will be the same day as your procedure. You will need to arrange someone to drive you home from the hospital following your procedure, as you won’t be able to drive for a few days.

You should take it easy for a week following sinus surgery and if your work involves any heavy lifting, you will need to take a week off work.

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Our dedicated team will still be there for you during each step of your recovery, even once you have left the hospital if you have any queries or concerns. Our consultants will usually book a follow-up appointment with you before you are discharged from hospital, to see how you are doing.

Whilst it is rare occurrence, surgery does carry a risk of complications. These depend on the type of operation you have as well as a variety of other factors such as your overall general health. During your consultation/s your consultant will discuss the possible risks and complications of having this procedure, and how they may apply to you, and answer any concerns or questions you have.

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