Sinus Surgery anyone?

My 17 year old son (who up to a year ago has always been very healthy - trust me, we’ve been very grateful) needs sinus surgery (scheduled for the 20th). He’s had congestion since ohhhhh about Christmas. At first, we treated it as a basic cold (which is to say, do not much of anything except alleviate symptoms with OTC’s if they were too much - I’m not big on tossing pills at every little thing…)

Once it developed into a deep cough, though I started with other means. We took him to the doctors like 4 times between Early Feb and now. He’s been treated for sinus infection, pnuemonia, bronchitus, etc. has taken various combinations of antibiotics, decongestants (script), steroids, inhalers (3 different ones) 2 sinus sprays (and a partridge in a pear tree). each treatment would at least alleviate symptoms during the course of treatment, but as soon as the steroids or anitbiotics were done, he’d bounce back.

Tests have been done - blood work (twice) chest x rays (twice) and CAT scan of his sinuses (took over a month between the doctor ordering the test and the actual test). It was this last that got us to the ENT, who said that we’d already tried all medication courses possible, surgery was the only other thing to try.

So, it’s scheduled. I’m convinced that it’s the right step, but would like to know what to expect (for him) - so - have you had it? how was the day of the surgery? the next day? swollen nose/face? pain level? Did it help? how quickly did you start feeling better? etc.

My ex had it about 6 years ago. I brought her to the outpatient center and picked her up a few hours later. She says they gave her a topical anaesthesia so she was alert through the procedure and described the various cutting, scraping, and crunching sounds in great detail! She was really woozy afterwards - no biking home from this procedure.
There was some pain for about a week afterwards, but she said she felt almost immediately better- within 24 hours she could tell a difference up there. It progressively got better over a week to ten days. As for swelling, she said she felt swollen up for a few days, but I only was able to see a little swelling the day of the procedure.

There was bleeding and the most heinous boogers I have ever encountered. I’m talking Alien looking multi inch long things:O

She said it is the best thing she ever did. She went from having almost bi weekly to monthly sinus infections that would just shut her down like a migraine to going many many months without a whiff of anything. The sinus problems she has had since have been very very mild and easily treated with basic antibitoics.

He’ll thank you for this later. Just be prepared to baby him for a few days.

wring, what exactly are they gong to do to him? I’ve had polyps surgically removed from my sinuses twice, but from your description, this sounds more serious than that.
At any rate, he’s going to be damn uncomfortable for a few days, and you might want to see about getting a plastic pillow cover for him. (mundane, but true.)

Wring, it depends on what is done to your son. 2 years ago I had polyps removed, my septum straightened, diseased tissue stripped from my maxillary sinuses (the big ones by your cheekbones) and drain holes drilled. Believe it or not, it didn’t hurt. My nose was packed for 24 hours, and that was the most miserable thing I have ever dealt with. I stayed home from work for 2 weeks. I was incredibly tired, got nightly headaches that went away with aspirin, and slept sitting up for at least a week. I did not have black eyes or bruising. (The fun thing was that once I was able to blow my nose without fear of hemorrhage, the ENT gave me permission to pick out all the crud–sanctioned nose picking!). It was by far the best thing I have ever done for my health, and would do it again. However, I suffered for YEARS with sinus problems, and I’m a little chary of a doctor who would recommend surgery after only 6 months. What did the CAT scan show?

I had a deviated septum fixed 6 years ago, after semi-monthly sinus infections for months and months. It was outpatient. They gave me general anesthesia and scraped my cartilage to open up my sinuses. Post-op recovery sucked because I was shaking and feeling really sick. Turns out that my doctor likes to apply cocaine inside the nose to numb it–I wish he’d told me first. After surgery I was fine but groggy, threw up my anesthesia and felt great. You’re not supposed to blow your nose for a while so the wound can heal. Doc took out the stitches in about a week.

I still get sinus infections, but only about once a year. I still need steriod nasal spray because my sinus tissues swell (and they can’t do anything about that). I was glad I had the surgery. Constant sinus infections really suck. I feel so much better.

Warning: gross stuff ahead.

I had a rather unpleasant experience with the surgery. I don’t want to discourage you or frighten you, because I understand that my experience is very unusual, and that typically the surgery is very routine and painless. But I think it’s fair to warn you that this sort of thing can happen.

I had chronic nasal congestion that was diagnosed as acute sinusitis. Treatment with medication didn’t help much, so my ENT recommended the surgery. I agreed.

They asked me to choose whether I wanted a local or general anaesthetic. I chose a local because I understand it’s safer. I went in for the surgery and, during the procedure, felt nothing.

Then I woke up. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Turns out that they had started by giving me a local anaesthetic, but I was still too restless, so then they hit me with a general, as well. I had a huge headache and was woozy from the drugs. I could barely walk. They kept me in the hospital for a few hours, during which time I puked up the blood I had swallowed during the surgery.

So, my parents brought me home. I was all right except for the fact that I had this packing stuffed up my nose, which was very uncomfortable. Trouble was, there was still lots of blood trickling down from my sinuses and going down my throat. The blood would clump in my throat and I would have to either swallow it or try to hack it up (I warned you this would be gross). Very disgusting and very unpleasant.

Then, about 2 days after the surgery, the packing in my nose started slipping out. The packing was sort of like tampons for your nose. Well, one of these bloody nasal tampons started to slide out. I had to either pull it the rest of the way out or try to push it back in. Pushing it back in hurt like hell so I pulled it out. Incorrect decision. I started bleeding like crazy. There were only 2 things I could do: lean my head back, which would allow blood to trickle down my throat, or lean it forward, which would allow the blood to drip out. Not wanting to swallow a steady stream of blood, I leaned forward and let the blood drip out. Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip. It wouldn’t stop. Blood everywhere. Eventually my family and I decided that this was bad and they took me to the ER.

I sat in the ER bleeding for like two hours while they tried to track down one of the interns who had worked with the surgeon on my surgery. They did, and the intern had them shove a new piece of packing up my nose. While I was not sedated. Now, the packing was significantly thicker than my nostrils and that hurt like all fucking hell. But they got it in there and the bleeding stopped.

That was the worst of it. Over a few days, the blood running down from my sinuses gradually slowed and then stopped. They took the packing out. For the next few weeks I had to use this spray nozzle thing to squirt this disinfecting solution up my nose. I also had to use this dreadful prescription nasal spray. I continued to have occasional nosebleeds but they were not as bad. After a few weeks, I was able to breathe through my nose.

Now, 8 years after that nasty experience, I’m glad I had it done. I still get congested frequently, but overall I’m much better than I was before the surgery, when I was congested all the time. During the spring and summer, except when allergies strike, I can breathe pretty clearly.

So, that’s my story. Again, I don’t want to discourage you from having your son get the surgery, because I’m sure my experience is not typical. But be aware that complications may happen and there may be quite a bit of bleeding. Ask your doctor about what it will be like after the surgery and the kind of complications that can arise. We didn’t and we were totally unprepared for it.

thanks for the feedback.

Ben’s not had difficulty w/sinus problems before this year, but hasn’t had a moment w/o a problem for the past 6 months. His sleeping, he’s been getting depressed because it’s been so long since he’s felt ok. Can’t smell anything. etc. etc etc. He’s been on wide variety of medications (combinations etc.) pretty much non stop all year, without significant relief. I have no problem saying it’s time for something different.

His CAT scan shows a substantial blockage; no polyps, no septum problem. Just drill and scoop is the plan.

Unfortunately, I’ve got an evening meeting that night, have his dad as back up ‘there there son, it’ll be ok’ person. Plan on babying him pretty substantially the whole next day etc.

I’m sure he’s hoping for a short recovery time. Re: all the hacking and snot - umm ya know, that’s pretty much what we’ve been living with, so if at least there’ll be an end in sight, we’re all for it.
Thanks for the plastic pillow thought -hadn’t thought about that, but good idea. (where’s that barfy smiley when you need it?)

thanks for all the stories (including ‘worst case scenario’) it does help.

Well, it’s tomorrow. My evening meeting has been canceled, so I’ll be able to ‘baby’ him (if he wants - he may still choose to go home with dad).

wish us luck.

Don’t expect to hear from me for the next day or so.

My experience. Zero pain and only very mild discomfort. even with a blocked nose i could feel air moving through the back of my nose immediteey after the op. One week in feeling very pleased i had the op. No painkillers no tubes or packing - lots of drugs like prednisolone and antibiotic to take for the first week - and for the first time i can easily use a sinus rinse. a lovely surprise to find it painless.

Hopefully he’s recovered over the last 17 years.

Welcome to the SDMB, kaztika.