Surgery for nasal or paranasal sinus cancer
Your doctor may advise you to have surgery if the tumour isn’t too close to your brain or major blood vessels. The type of surgery will depend on where the tumour is and, if you have paranasal sinus cancer, which sinuses are affected. You will often need to have reconstructive surgery as well.
Nasal and sinus cancers are often close to the eye socket, brain, cheek bones and nose. Your surgeon will talk to you about the most suitable approach and whether any other structures need to be removed to get the best outcome.
Different types of surgery for nasal and sinus cancer include:
- maxillectomy – removes part or all of the upper jaw (maxilla); may include the upper teeth, part of the eye socket and/or the nasal cavity
- skull base surgery – also known as a craniofacial resection, this surgery removes part of the nasal cavity or sinuses; often done endoscopically through the nose, but a cut along the side of the nose may be needed; sometimes a neurosurgeon assists with this surgery
- orbital exenteration – removes the eye and may also remove tissue around the eye socket
- rhinectomy – removes part or all of the nose.
The surgeon will consider how the operation will affect how you look, and your ability to breathe, speak, chew and swallow.
If your nose, or a part of it, is removed, you may get an artificial nose (prosthesis) or the nose may be reconstructed using tissue from other parts of your body. The process for completing the prosthetic or reconstructed nose may take several months. Your surgeon will give you more information about the different steps and the overall timing.
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
A/Prof Richard Gallagher, Head and Neck Surgeon, Director of Cancer Services and Head and Neck Cancer Services, St Vincent’s Health Network, NSW; Dr Sophie Beaumont, Head of Dental Oncology, Dental Practitioner, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Bena Brown, Speech Pathologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, and Senior Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research, QLD; Dr Teresa Brown, Assistant Director, Nutrition and Dietetics, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Lisa Castle-Burns, Head and Neck Cancer Specialist Nurse, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, The Canberra Hospital, ACT; A/Prof Ben Chua, Radiation Oncologist, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, GenesisCare Rockhampton and Brisbane, QLD; Elaine Cook, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Dr Andrew Foreman, Specialist Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Tony Houey, Consumer; Dr Annette Lim, Medical Oncologist and Clinician Researcher – Head and Neck and Non-melanoma Skin Cancer, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and The University of Melbourne, VIC; Paula Macleod, Head, Neck and Thyroid Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Dr Aoife McGarvey, Physiotherapist and Accredited Lymphoedema Practitioner, Physio Living, Newcastle, NSW; Rick Pointon, Consumer; Teresa Simpson Senior Clinician, Psycho-Oncology Social Work Service, Cancer Therapy Centre, Liverpool Hospital, NSW.
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