The maxillary sinuses are located beneath the cheeks, above the teeth and on either sides of the nose. A maxillectomy is the surgical removal or resection of the maxilla or upper jaw bone. A maxillectomy may be total or partial. A total maxillectomy is the resection of the entire maxilla, whereas a limited maxillectomy is only a partial resection, involving the removal of only the medial wall or the floor of the maxillary sinus. An indication for a maxillectomy would be to remove cancer in the maxillary sinus. Your surgeon will discuss the specifics of your procedure with you prior to surgery. The main goal of the procedure is to completely remove the tumor. At the same time, it is a priority to preserve function.


As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks in a maxillectomy. The risks and complications include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Numbness or Weakness – Depending on the extent of tumor involvement, facial, neck, or shoulder weakness or numbness can result. May be temporary or permanent.
  • Epiphora – Watery eyes or an overflow of tears due to surgical swelling. As the swelling decreases, the watery eyes and tears generally subside.
  • Vision Changes
  • Complications due to anesthesia. (The anesthesiologist will discuss the risks of anesthesia with you prior to your surgery).

Before the Procedure

  1. Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure. This includes all food, liquids, water, candy, mints or chewing gum. You may brush your teeth. You will not be able to undergo the surgery if you do not follow these instructions.
  2. Please notify us of any medications and dosage (including insulin) or allergies you may have. You will be informed of which medications you can take on the day of surgery with a sip of water.
  3. A week before the surgery, please avoid aspirin, aspirin-containing products, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Aleve) or Vitamin E. Please notify our office if you are on any medications that affect bleeding, such as coumadin or warfarin. Please call our office if you have any concerns about any medications. (585-342-2080)
  4. Remove all make-up, jewelry, nail polish, and artificial nails before surgery.
  5. Do not bring valuables to the hospital (cash, credit cards, watches, jewelry, etc.).

After the Procedure

You will be admitted to the hospital after the surgery. In addition to the post-operative instructions listed below, you will be given instructions from the hospital at the time of your discharge. Swelling is a normal post-operative symptom. This will decrease with time during the healing process.

Activity: Avoid any strenuous activity (bending, lifting or straining) for two weeks following your surgery.

Diet: Advance diet from clear liquids to soft foods as tolerated. After a few days you should be able to resume a regular diet. Avoid extremely hot liquids or foods if there is any numbness in your mouth.

Wound Care: You may shower as long as the steristrips are kept intact. You may brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush. Saline irrigations are very helpful once the nasal packing is removed. A prosthodontist will assist you in oral restoration and rehabilitation.

Medications: You may have some pain. For pain relief, use your pain medication as directed and as needed. Please notify our office if the pain medicine does not relieve your pain. Take your antibiotic as directed.

Follow-Up: Our office will notify you of the date and time of your follow-up appointment.

Please call our office at 585-342-2080 for any of the following:

  1. Trouble breathing or swallowing.
  2. Fever over 101° F.
  3. Swelling that increases rather than decreases with time.
  4. Pain that is not relieved by medicine.
  5. Any other questions or concerns.