Helping Surgeons See Better


MUHC Surgeons Use New Technology to Treat Sinusitis

- A new Image Guidance surgical system, at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) may provide safer surgery and more effective relief to many chronic sinusitis sufferers.

"Image-Guided surgery is an important adjunct for the treatment of sinusitis, particularly for complex procedures," says MUHC sinus and skull base surgeon Dr. Mark Samaha. "This technology has taken sinus and skull base surgery to a new level. We are now able to perform more complex and delicate surgeries with greater precision. Some patients with sinusitis or even patients with tumours of the skull base, would otherwise require more invasive surgical approaches often resulting in longer recovery times, complications and sometimes disfigurement. Now, these operations can be accomplished with no skin incisions or swelling, greater accuracy, shorter recovery time, and little or no discomfort to the patient. Many of these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis."

The Image Guidance system produces a three-dimensional model of the skull using "stealth" technology. It combines computed tomography scans (CT scans) and infrared signals to provide real-time information about the exact position of surgical instruments within the complex anatomy of the sinuses.

"The system guides the moves of the surgeon, who is able to see, on a video screen, which vital structure may lie behind a certain wall of bone," explains Dr. Samaha. "This is critical when operating only millimeters away from major blood vessels, nerves, the eye, and the brain, especially since the bones separating the sinuses from these structures are very thin."

"I am 100 percent better, following surgery," says Ms. Jennifer Sanscartier, a chronic sinusitis sufferer and recent patient. "I originally had the surgery elsewhere and it was unsuccessful. My second procedure, during which the system was used, was a success and the recovery was much easier."

Approximately three million Canadians suffer from chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis is an inflammation in the nose, which may be caused by viruses, bacteria, allergies or pollution. Symptoms include, chronic runny nose, facial pain, cough, fatigue, migraines and low fever.

Contact Information

Christine Zeindler
MUHC Public Relations and Communications
christine.zeindler [at]
Office Phone: 
514-934-1934 ext. 36419