Is a nasal endoscopy painful?

Reviewed on 1/13/2021

Nasal endoscopy or rhinoscopy is not a painful procedure; however, it may be slightly uncomfortable.
Nasal endoscopy or rhinoscopy is not a painful procedure; however, it may be slightly uncomfortable.

Before nasal endoscopy, the doctor may spray the nose with a decongestant and local anesthesia to reduce the congestion and widen the area while stopping the patient from sneezing or discomfort. The patient may return home on the same day after the procedure. A doctor may recommend nasal endoscopy if the patient is having:

During the procedure, the doctor may:

  • Look at the inside of your nose and sinuses
  • Take a sample of tissue for a biopsy
  • Conduct small surgeries to remove polyps, excess mucus, or other masses
  • Remove a foreign object (like a marble) in the nose or sinus

If your doctor takes a tissue biopsy or performs any small procedure, the patient may have mild to moderate pain, which is usually controlled by anesthesia and painkillers. There is a little risk following a nasal endoscopy for most people. They are:

  • If the patient has a bleeding disorder or takes blood-thinning medicine, the doctor should be notified so that they are extra careful to decrease bleeding.
  • If the patient has heart disease, there is a small risk that they may feel lightheaded or faint.

How is nasal endoscopy performed?

Nasal endoscopy is performed by an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeon using foot-long equipment, such as a cable-lens. The procedure may take less than 15 minutes; however, if there is any additional surgery required, it may last for 45 minutes. During the procedure, the doctor may:

  • Spray your nose with a medicine to reduce swelling and numb the area. Insert the flexible or rigid tube with a camera at the end to look inside the nose and sinuses. Pictures may be projected onto a screen. The doctor may examine the inside of the nose and sinuses and remove pre-existing polyps, mucus, or other masses from the nose or sinuses during endoscopy.

Is the recovery after nasal endoscopy painful?

The recovery time and pain stimulus vary from patient to patient. The recovery is far less painful than traditional sinus surgery, which requires nasal packing. Some patients report no pain and minimal swelling, most have a little pain, and patients can return to their usual activities without any discomfort. Others report having minor, tolerable discomfort and very few have complained that they have significant pain. Most say it feels like a cold with sinus pressure. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication that will alleviate any pain. The patient may recover completely within 3-7 days depending on the type of procedure.

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References
Hughes AL. Nasal Endoscopy. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1890999-overview

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