What is Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?

If Meds don’t work:

If medical treatment fails to control the sinus headaches, or if they are persistent or severe, one options is procedure to open the sinuses up. This is called Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (ESS or FESS) or traditional sinus surgery.

The Problem

Problem sinuses are blocked, trapping infection and bacteria, leading to inflammation that festers or just keeps lingering. Trapped sinuses cause inflammation and pressure (felt as a headache or facial pressure). Trapped sinuses also produce secretions (phlegm, runny nose, or post-nasal drip), which cause a person to clear their throat often.

The Solution

Open the sinuses. With surgery, the sinus opening is enlarged by removing the specific parts that blocks the sinuses.  Then the sinus is suctioned clear. The sinus is now open and can keep itself clear. Inflammation goes down, bacteria go away, and secretions are cleared out. Symptoms go away.

 The correction rate for Endoscopic Sinus Surgery is 85%, the same as balloon sinuplasty.  Both treatments can be done in an office or a hospital setting.

Facility Options

In-office procedures are much safer for any patient than in a hospital.


 No general anesthesia

 No anesthesia risks

 Resume daily activities faster

 No Hospital copayment

 No Anesthesiologist copay

 Low risk of infection

 Ease of scheduling

 No fasting needed



Yes general anesthesia

Anesthesia risk and side effects (nausea, vomiting)

Slow recovery, days

Yes Hospital copayment ($$)

Yes Anesthesiologist copayment ($$)

Hi risk of infection (MRSA, c. diff, enteroccoccus)

Need for significant and testing ($$)

Fasting required

The recovery for a balloon procedure is a day; the recovery for ESS is a week.  Bleeding, pain and follow-up nasal care are all less in a balloon procedure versus ESS.  This is because the balloon procedure does not involve incisions and cutting whereas ESS does.

A graphic compares results between balloon sinus dilation and traditional sinus surgery for patients