Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is the most popular method for treating medicine-refractory sinonasal disease. However, there are some pitfalls with this technique that can result in serious complications. Under the assistance of a navigation system, surgeons can overcome such problems. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of FESS aided by a navigation system.
There were 79 patients who underwent FESS under the assistance of a navigation system in our department between September 2004 and September 2005. Data on preoperative setup time, accuracy of the navigation system, operative time, and amount of blood loss during the operation were collected and analyzed.
Mean preoperative setup time and mean operative time were 10.6 minutes and 112.3 minutes, respectively. The mean number of paranasal sinuses operated on was 5.8. The mean accuracy of the navigator system was 1.08 mm. Mean blood loss was 102.5 mL. Compared with data collected 2 years ago, preoperative setup time and operative time had both shortened. In addition, the number of operated paranasal sinuses had increased. This indicates that operative skill had improved. Moreover, operative time, amount of blood loss during the operation, and number of operated paranasal sinuses presented positive associations and significant differences (p < 0.05). No major complications such as blindness or cerebral spinal fluid leakage were noted.
The characteristics of FESS aided by a navigation system include: (1) being able to pilot the relative positions of the operative instruments correctly in 3 dimensions; (2) being able to remove lesions more thoroughly; and (3) its inability to disclose the positions of vessels. As the number of patients we operated on increased, operative time was reduced. On the other hand, blood loss increased when the operations became more aggressive. However, performing FESS with the assistance of a navigation system is a safe way to treat patients with chronic paranasal sinusitis.