Julia (37) says she was referred for revision surgery by her GP after enduring year-round symptoms of chronic sinus disease: severe frontal headaches, congestion, prominent nasal discharge, watery eyes and irritation, lasting days at a time. Unsurprisingly, these caused problems with her breathing, sleeping and ability to focus at work.
“I always felt like I was a little bit ‘off’: constant flu-like symptoms, feeling really lethargic. It got to the point where concentrating was quite hard due to the ‘numbing’ of my head.”
The healing process was fast tracked and the final outcome was free of complications. Julia says she can sleep better, has had no headaches and infections, and considers herself ‘pretty lucky’ after her recent operations.
“With the build-up of issues I’d had prior to surgery, the recovery wasn’t that bad because I’d experienced so much before.”
She says she managed to avoid the potential postsurgical problems of significant pain, bleeding, discomfort and infection. And she noticed the improvement as soon as the first of three revision procedures had been done.
“It was great. After the first surgery, the difference was amazing. To this point, I haven’t had any flare ups… it’s a complete turnaround.”
Julia’s procedures were performed under general anaesthesia with an overnight stay.
“I was definitely ready to go home the next day, and the pain decreased quite fast…I came off pain relief really quickly this time – in under a week.”
Surgeons becoming more experienced with Chitogel
Julia’s endoscopic sinus surgeon and others in New Zealand and the United States are building up a significant body of experience with using Chitogel, a new postoperative nasal dressing that can be applied to the sinuses after endoscopic sinus surgery.
Its use is rapidly becoming favoured over older, more traditional methods of packing.
Julia’s surgeon has now used the new hydrogel nasal dressing in more than 200 sinus procedures.
“Julia’s experience of sinus surgery shows how Chitogel helps provide excellent outcomes in complex cases needing more ‘bespoke’ procedures,” her surgeon says.
“Over the last two years, Julia has had three separate revision (‘salvage’) procedures to remedy problems (scarring and adhesions) from three previous sinus surgeries some years beforehand. These earlier procedures had failed to resolve her sinus symptoms,” he explains.
The three recent revision procedures included an endoscopic modified Lothrop procedure for the frontal sinuses and two partial medial maxillectomies (one for each side). All were performed on separate occasions using Chitogel postsurgical dressing, and Julia had her final surgery in May 2020.
While her surgeon describes Julia’s surgery and her postoperative phase as all going according to plan, he adds that Chitogel had a big role in promoting healing of the sinuses, maintaining ostial patency and reducing scarring and adhesions.
“In patients with a lot of infection, Chitogel reduces the amount of postoperative infection, allowing the sinuses to heal quicker. If you consider an infected, dirty cut versus a clean cut, the former takes longer to heal and needs antibiotic creams to allow it to do so. Using Chitogel within the sinuses, I find I need to provide fewer secondary medications to get the sinuses to heal properly.”
Patient suffered series of symptoms prior to successful surgery
Julia’s situation impaired her ability to perform her role as a store supervisor, sometimes required to operate a heavy fork-lift. Julia lost a lot of work time due to her sinus problems.
Now her symptoms have been resolved by the recent surgery, all she needs to remember is the rigorous use of a saline nasal rinse – as advised by her surgeon – and particularly if she senses she is getting any nasal irritation.
It is a straightforward part of her routine and her surgeon has been happy throughout with the way things are progressing. Julia is aware she is fortunate to have been able to get her sinus problems resolved, at last:
“Just being able to focus, without that pressure behind my eyes and in my nose cavity… everything is clear. It is lovely.”