When planning for surgery, it’s important to make sure you have enough time available for a full recovery. Rushing back into certain activities too soon can increase discomfort and prolong healing time.
Quicker recovery than in years past
Sinus surgery has been around for many years, and as techniques, technologies, and medical understanding have improved, recovery time has gone down. Today, the average recovery time for the most commonly performed sinus surgery ranges from several days to a couple of weeks.
It’s important to note that recovery is a gradual process. For example, you may be able to start exercising again within a week of surgery, or it may take a little longer. However, that doesn’t mean the sinuses have fully healed. As your healing progresses, you’ll be able to do more day-to-day activities.
It’s not possible to predict exactly how long your own recovery will take. There are a few reasons for this:
- no two patients have exactly identical anatomy
- patients recover at different speeds
- some sinus surgeries are more extensive than others
So, if you have a relatively non-extensive surgery and your job involves mostly desk work, you may be able to return to work in a matter of days. However, if you have a more extensive operation, or if your job requires strenuous physical labor, it may be a couple of weeks before you can return to the workplace.
Your ENT physician is the appropriate person to estimate exactly how long recovery is likely to be in your unique case.
That said, there are a few factors that may, in general, speed recovery along considerably.
A helping hand from medical technology
The first is technology. Several decades ago, doctors would need to make incisions in the face to access and treat the sinuses. Fortunately, this approach changed with the invention and popularization of the endoscope. The endoscope enables doctors to perform surgery through the nostrils. Now, doctors don’t have to make external incisions. They can monitor the inside of the sinuses using a scope which is connected to a screen and remove the diseased tissue using small, precise instruments that are also inserted through the nostrils.
Further technological advancements focus on helping the post-surgical/healing process. For instance, the PROPEL® sinus stent is a novel, bio-absorbable stent that helps hold the sinus open after the surgery is complete. It delivers anti-inflammatory medication gradually, over a month, to the healing sinus tissue. It has been clinically shown to improve the effectiveness of surgery by holding the sinuses open and treating the underlying inflammation.
The bottom line
Sinus surgery has come a long way since it was first performed. Patients are often able to return to work within a matter of days, though many factors may make your individual recovery time faster or slower. Following your doctor’s postoperative instructions is the best way to make sure you heal as quickly as possible.