There are risks associated with endoscopic sinus surgery, but they are exceedingly rare. Some of these risks include:
• Bleeding - During surgery, patients lose small amounts of blood, but they are usually are able to tolerate that blood loss. However, in rare cases, excessive bleeding may occur, possibly requiring the doctors to stop the surgical procedure. Patients may also experience mild bleeding after surgery, which usually subsides after the first day.
Very rarely, patients could experience bleeding after surgery which requires a visit to the surgeon. The surgeon may place nasal packing on the area in order to stop the bleeding.
• Infection - Patients are usually given a dose of antibiotics during the surgery and a prescription for antibiotics for after surgery in order to reduce the risk of infection. Occasionally, a patient may develop a sinus infection after surgery that requires a stronger antibiotic.
• CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) leak - During endoscopic sinus surgery, the surgeon is working beneath the bone that separates the brain from the nose. If the bone becomes injured during surgery, it would result in a CSF leak. However, it is extremely rare for the bone to be injured during sinus surgery; if it is, the injury would be identified during the surgery and repaired immediately.
If a leak, however, is diagnosed after surgery, a second procedure would be necessary in order to repair the opening. The leak must be treated immediately to avoid the risk of meningitis, a potentially life-threatening infection.
• Changes in vision - The sinuses are very close to the eyes, so injury to the eyes may occur during sinus surgery, which may result in temporary or permanent double vision or other visual changes. Injury to the tear ducts may also cause excessive tearing after surgery.
These complications are exceedingly rare. Swelling may occur around the eyes after surgery, and temporary blurry vision may occur in some patients, but both will resolve without the need for further treatment.
• Other risks - Your nasal breathing or sense of small may be altered. If a septoplasty is performed during your sinus surgery, there is a small risk of developing a septal perforation. There is also a small risk of numbness in your teeth. Some patients have persistent or recurrent sinus disease after surgery that requires treatment with antibiotics, steroids, or perhaps another surgery.