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 depends on the location of the tumour and, if you have paranasal sinus cancer, the affected sinuses. You will often need to also have reconstructive surgery.
Nasal and sinus cancers are often close to the eye socket, brain, cheek bones and nose. Your surgeon will talk to you about the best approach and whether any additional structures need to be removed to get the best outcome.
Different types of surgery 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
- craniofacial resection – removes tissue between the eyes in the nasal cavity; often done endoscopically through the nose but a cut along the side of the nose may also be required; sometimes a neurosurgeon will assist with this surgery
- orbital exenteration – removes the eye and may also remove surrounding tissue around the eye socket
- rhinectomy – removes part or all of the nose
- endoscopic sinus surgery – removes part of the nasal cavity or sinuses through the nostrils, using an endoscope.
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). This will be synthetic or made of tissue from other parts of your body. In some cases, it can take months to complete the prosthetic or reconstructed nose. Your surgeon will guide you about the timing.
A/Prof David Wiesenfeld, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Director, Head and Neck Tumour Stream, The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Melbourne Health, VIC; Alan Bradbury, Consumer; Dr Ben Britton, Senior Clinical and Health Psychologist, John Hunter Hospital, NSW; Dr Madhavi Chilkuri, Radiation Oncologist, Townsville Cancer Centre, The Townsville Hospital, QLD; Jedda Clune, Senior Dietitian (Head and Neck Cancer), Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Dr Fiona Day, Staff Specialist, Medical Oncology, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, The University of Newcastle, NSW; Dr Ben Dixon, ENT, Head and Neck Surgeon, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, VIC; Emma Hair, Senior Social Worker, St George Hospital, NSW; Rosemerry Hodgkin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Kara Hutchinson, Head and Neck Cancer Nurse Coordinator, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, VIC; A/Prof Julia Maclean, Speech Pathologist, St George Hospital, NSW; Prof Jane Ussher, Chair, Women’s Health Psychology, Translational Health Research Institute (THRI), School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, NSW; Andrea Wong, Physiotherapist, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, VIC. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.