7 Frightening Sinus Lift Long Term Side Effects

Sinus lift has continuously grown in popularity over time. Sinus lift long term side effects differ from one person to the next.

A sinus lift is recommended in preparation for a tooth implant as it increases the bone in the upper jaw. Long-term tooth loss, congenital disabilities, and periodontal disease are all diseases that can cause sinus lift.

A sinus lift is recommended due to its multiple benefits, but since it is a medical procedure, it has some side effects. 

This article will look at the possible sinus lift long term side effects.

What is Sinus Lift?

A sinus lift, also known as sinus augmentation, is a surgical treatment intended to enhance the bone volume in the maxillary sinus floor for the placement of fixtures. In short, The procedure raises the sinus floor and creates more space for dental implants.

Sinuses are the four pairs of air-filled cavities located behind the cheekbones. Sinuses help the immune system fight diseases, maintain voice quality, reduce skull weight, and filter, vaporize, and heat the air you breathe.

How Is Sinus Lift Done?

Lateral access to the maxillary sinus is made, and the Schneiderian membrane is detached from the bone and pushed inward. A bone substitute material is then filled into the space between the Schneiderian membrane and the bone.

Prosthetic screws are attached at the same time as the bone substitute material.

The bone substitute material promotes bone formation, which replaces the material after four to nine months.

The enamel placement is the final stage; it’s done after ensuring that the bone substitute material has completely dissolved in the bone.

The sinus lift procedure is usually done in conjunction with other procedures, such as placing dental implants.

Sinus Lift Long Term Side Effects

An increasing number of people are going for sinus lifts because of their many benefits. However, it’s essential to consider the following sinus lift long term side effects before going for it. 

1. Sinus Lift Can Lead to Sinusitis

Swelling of the sinuses, known as sinusitis, can cause fluid buildup and blockage of the sinuses.

Inflammation and swelling of the air-filled cavity cause the pore to obstruct, resulting in a mucus buildup that may promote the growth of bacteria.

In addition, scarring can block off previously unaffected sinuses, causing constant left frontal headaches. In most cases, oral antibiotics, nasal washes, and nasal steroid sprays do not ease such symptoms.

2. Sinus Lift May Lead to Chronic Rhinosinusitis (CRS)

According to research, 2.3% of patients experience chronic rhinosinusitis after a sinus lifting procedure.

Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a chronic disease involving long-term inflammation of the nasal and paranasal sinus mucosa. This condition may be resistant to medical treatment.

3. Lifting Sinuses May Cause Visual Loss

One of the sinus lift long term side effects is blindness, although it’s rare. The sinus is very close to the orbital (eye) bones, which house the eyes and the optic nerves.

The right optic nerve passes through the ethmoid sinus, while the left optic nerve passes on the lateral wall of the sphenoid sinus.

Visual loss can occur when sinus surgery is done aggressively, leading to injury of the eye or optic nerve. The potential for recovery in such cases is very minimal and rare.

4. Spinal Fluid Leak

Though rare, one possible sinus lift long-term side effect is the dripping of spinal fluid from your brain cavity through your sinuses to the nose. This condition is known as Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea.

It is rare and usually seen only after head trauma or as a complication of sinus surgery.

The spinal fluid discharge is usually a clear and thin nasal discharge.

Spinal fluid leakage is a severe condition, as the ascending fistula between the dura and the nasal cavity can lead to infection, which can cause meningitis. Discharge occurs only when there is a hole between the dura and the skull.

5. Alteration of the Sense of Smell or Taste

Alteration of the olfactory sensory neurons and taste buds is among sinus lift long term side effects.

Olfactory sensory neurons are the cells responsible for smell located deep in the nose.

Taste buds are mainly on the tongue, though we have additional ones in the throat, nasal cavity, epiglottis, and upper part of the esophagus.

During the sinus lift procedure, a few of the millions of sensory cells and taste buds may be affected, interfering with overall functionality. 

6. Change of Voice or Tone

Voice change is another sinus lift with long-term side effects. Sinus lifts reduce the shape and volume of the maxillary sinus. The reduction significantly affects their primary functions, which include;

  • Head Weight reduction.
  • Control of temperature and humidity of the air.
  • Resonance of sound.
  • Discharge of secretions.

Sinus volume change significantly affects resonance. For example, a person singing a deep base may not voice the same deep base after a sinus lift.

7. Maxillary Sinus Ostium Block

One of the sinus lift long-term side effects is the blocking of the maxillary sinus ostium.

Ostium’s primary function is to act as a duct through which sinus mucous secretion passes.

Ostium does not secrete directly into the nasal fossa but through the ethmoidal infundibulum.

Blockage of the maxillary sinus ostium or other drainage ducts, the ethmoidal infundibulum, or the hiatus semilunaris results in sinus secretion buildup and infection.


The sinus lift is a procedure to improve maxillary bone stock before dental implantation.

Sinus lift’s exponential growth has been mainly because of the number of people who have benefited from its application, most of whom seek dental implants.

When pursuing a sinus lift, it is essential to consider its long-term side effects, such as a change of voice, altered voice and tone, sinusitis, and chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). Understanding the negatives helps prepare your mind on what to expect and be able to recognize the effects in case they occur or after sinus lifting.

Consult widely and choose an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeon with a good reputation.

A reputable surgeon has lower chances of erring. You will also be comfortable during the procedure knowing you’re in good hands.

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