Revision Sinus Surgery Seattle


There are roughly 250,000 sinus surgeries performed every year in the United States. Around 90% of these surgeries will be successful and either eliminate or significantly reduce sinus problems. Thus, the other 10% may consist of a mix of those who need continued ongoing therapies, who may need additional procedures, or who need a revision sinus surgery. Dr. David Santos at Sinusitis In Seattle is an accomplished and board certified otolaryngologist who specializes in the best revision sinus surgery Seattle, Burien, and Renton offer.


Revision sinus surgery is a sinus surgery that is repeated to treat ongoing symptoms. Any sinus surgery can be revised. Additionally, there is a small risk when undergoing any surgery that a revision may be necessary in the future. Most people who have sinus surgery will find adequate relief from their symptoms. A small number, though, might continue to see severe symptoms that worsen their quality of life.

Deciding to undergo revision sinus surgery is a serious decision that takes time and the expertise of a knowledgeable otolaryngologist. In most cases, your sinus surgeon will advise you to wait about a year before seeking surgery. This is because it can take a year to see the results of your original surgery. 

Additionally, while revision sinus surgery can occur soon after the first one, it is more common for people who underwent sinus surgery several years ago to have a revision. This is not always considered a revision depending on the specifics of the surgery. Likely, this is because of new techniques reducing revision rates today and people become more susceptible to sinus infections with age.

If the surgery was recent and it is possible, Dr. Santos may advise that you return to your original surgeon. However, if that is not possible, Dr. Santos is happy to evaluate your need for Seattle revision sinus surgery.

Signs It’s Necessary

The persistence of severe symptoms that continue to hinder your quality of life is typically the main sign a revision is necessary. The symptoms can include a range of sinus symptoms. Also, new symptoms can appear following sinus surgery, leading to a revision. Some of the symptoms that may signal the need for revision sinus surgery include:

  • Headaches
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Continued congestion
  • Recurrent sinus infections
  • Trouble breathing
  • Changes in taste or smell
  • Facial swelling
  • Sore throat
  • Postnasal drip

Obviously, these symptoms can have other causes that have no bearing on your surgery. However, if they become chronic or especially severe, you may consider a revision.


The actual reason you need a revision can come down to several factors that are not always identifiable. Some of the causes that can lead a patient to seek our revision sinus surgery include:

  • Incomplete or incorrectly performed sinus surgery
  • New sinus issues
  • Wrong diagnosis
  • Recurrence or appearance of nasal polyps
  • Scar tissue in the sinuses
  • Re-development of chronic sinusitis several years later
  • Inadequate post-operative care
  • Wrong technique utilized
  • Condition is/was especially severe and not adequately treated with one procedure

These are just a few of the reasons that a revision becomes necessary. The root cause is not always known or identifiable. Dr. Santos will work to identify what is causing your current symptoms and problems to better treat you.


Both sinus surgeons and patients hope that a revision never becomes needed. However, in some cases, a revision may be the best option for a patient continuing to exhibit sinus symptoms. There are benefits to undergoing a revision sinus surgery in Burien. Some of the benefits you may experience include:

  • Reduction or cessation of severe sinus symptoms
  • Improved quality of life
  • Widened sinus passages and airways
  • Easier breathing
  • Fewer sinus infections
  • Less severe sinusitis symptoms/infections
  • Some experience an easier recovery
  • Treatment of other sinus cavities
  • May improve sleep quality


As previously mentioned, any type of sinus surgery can be revised. Your specific revision surgery may or may not use the same technique as the first surgery. Dr. Santos will discuss these specifics with you after examining you, understanding your original surgery, and medical history. Below are the most techniques used for revision sinus surgery.


The endoscopic technique is among the most frequently used for all sinus surgeries, including revision surgery. With this technique, a surgical camera known as an endoscope, is inserted into the nasal cavities and sinuses. This allows the surgeon to identify and remove areas of inflamed tissue and adequately drain the afflicted sinuses. 


Balloon sinus surgery involves inserting a surgical balloon into the sinus cavity and inflating it. This gives Dr. Santos room to drain and widen the sinus cavity. This is one of the newest techniques and is good for addressing mild to moderate chronic sinus conditions. Therefore, for smaller revision surgery, this may be the preferred method. 

Image Guided

Like endoscopic sinus surgery, image guided sinus surgery (sometimes called stealth sinus surgery) also uses imaging technology. However, instead of inserting the camera physically, a CT scan is taken before surgery. Using these scans, Dr. Santos can plan and map out the surgery. During the procedure, he will use image guidance technology along with the scans to identify the precise location of the blockages. 


A deviated septum can cause recurrent and chronic sinus issues. Therefore, if it was corrected during your original procedure, it may lead to more symptoms later. While not a traditional sinus surgery, a septoplasty can relieve sinus symptoms. Dr. Santos can identify if a deviated septum is causing your sinus symptoms.


How Many Sinus Surgeries End Up Getting Revised?

Only a minute fraction of sinus surgeries result in a revision. While an estimated 90-95% of sinus surgeries are successful, undergoing a second sinus surgery is not automatically a revision because sometimes it addresses a different issue or problem with the sinuses. Many sinus surgeons like Dr. Santos have low revision rates among their patients. In general, the majority of sinus surgery patients will not need a revision to improve their quality of life.

Can Sinus Tissue Grow Back After Sinus Surgery?

It is uncommon for removed sinus tissue to grow back after sinus surgery. However, if diseased tissue is left behind, this can spread to surrounding sinus tissue. Additionally, it is possible to develop chronic sinusitis again, even after sinus surgery, though it is more unlikely. The removed tissue itself should not return.

The one exception to this is nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are small growths in the sinuses and nasal passages that can cause blockages, chronic sinusitis, and other issues. Even when removed surgically, nasal polyps can return and continue to cause problems. Furthermore, it is estimated that around 40% of patients who have nasal polyps removed will see them recur.

Is Recovery Easier After Revision Surgery?

Some patients do find a revision sinus surgery recovery easier than their previous surgery. This is not true for all patients. In general, recovery after sinus surgery is fairly easy, with many patients not needing to take prescription pain medications. Patients can usually return to work in a week, sometimes less.

Overall, the ease and comfort of recovery depend on the extent of the surgery, patient health, and aftercare. Sometimes a revision surgery may be more extensive than the original. In which case, patients usually do not find the recovery easier. Upon examination and consultation, Dr. Santos will describe what you may expect during recovery.

Will The Surgery Be Different From The First One?

Possibly. Revision surgery may involve nearly a replica of your previous procedure, or it may be a completely different surgery. It all depends on your needs and reasons for seeking a revision. Therefore, before surgery, Dr. Santos will discuss your revision sinus surgery in-depth with you. 

Are There Certain People More Likely To Need Revision Sinus Surgery?

Yes, studies have shown that people with comorbid conditions such as asthma, nasal polyps, severe allergies, and a family history of chronic sinusitis are more likely to need a revision sinus surgery. There is also some evidence that women and patients who undergo their first sinus surgery at an older age may have a slightly increased risk of revision surgery. 

However, it is important to note that none of these factors or conditions alone means that you will need revision surgery. Revision sinus surgery still only occurs in a small number of patients who undergo sinus surgery. Most patients find adequate relief from symptoms, or their symptoms are now manageable.


Dr. David Santos is a Seattle sinus surgeon with 30 years of experience in the field. Along with his accomplishments as an otolaryngologist, Dr. Santos is also a board certified facial plastic surgeon. Thus, he is qualified in both the medical and cosmetic treatment of the face, making him one of the most well-rounded sinus surgeons in Seattle.

Sinusitis In Seattle is a premier Ear, Nose, and Throat clinic and surgery center located south of Seattle in Burien, WA. Having served as south Seattle, Burien, and Renton’s top ENT for decades, Sinusitis In Seattle takes pride in providing personalized, high quality care.

To schedule, a consultation with Dr. Santos call us at 206-242-3696. You can also reach out online via our contact us page.