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Ethmoidectomy to Cure Chronic Sinusitis at Our Los Angeles Center

Chronic sinusitis is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States — and the constant congestion, difficulty breathing in addition to frequent headaches and pressure that accompany it can be a real pain. For some people, treatment with antibiotics, antifungal medications or steroids can help solve the problem, but for others, the recurrent sinus infections don’t respond to medications, and the problem requires a more permanent and surgical solution.

How It Works

The ethmoidectomy is a surgery that can remove excess bone or tissue, including polyps, from the ethmoid sinuses (These are the small sinuses at the bridge of the nose, right between your eyes.). The surgery helps open up the nasal passages, allowing for a freer flow of air through the sinus. Most surgeons recommend working on these key sinuses for sinusitis relief, since the other sinuses drain through the ethmoid sinus, or through an area right near it.

Before you undergo an ethmoidectomy, your doctor will examine a series of images of your sinus passages, using both a CT scan and an endoscopy. This will enable him to review how extensive the problem is and evaluate the best approach to the surgery.

Depending on your anatomy and the location of your sinus problem, your miVIP surgeon can take one of a number of approaches to the surgery. He can approach the ethmoid sinus through an incision near your eye, through your nostril or even through the roof of your mouth. In many cases, he will use an endoscope for your ethmoidectomy. This is a thin tube with a lighted camera attached to it to allow for a larger field of vision, magnification of the area to improve visibility and a more precise result. The endoscopic approach can also help prevent any visible incisions. In most cases, your surgeon will put you under general anesthesia for the procedure.

Like many sinus surgeries, an ethmoidectomy is usually an outpatient procedure; you can expect to go home to recover later that same day.


After the surgery, you can expect some sinus pain and congestion and bloody mucus discharge for about a day after the procedure. You may be able to return to work within a few days after the surgery, but you should avoid blowing your nose, flying or strenuous activities for a few weeks after the surgery to give your sinuses a chance to heal. Your doctor may also prescribe a course of antibiotics to help clear up any remaining infection and a decongestant for a few days after surgery to help reduce swelling.

An ethmoidectomy can be extremely effective at solving serious cases of chronic sinusitis — and most patients can expect that the surgery will help them avoid recurrent bouts of sinusitis (and all that pain and congestion).

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