If you’re considering sinus surgery, you should read this. (But you’ll probably still wish you didn’t.)

As you read this excellent writeup of what it’s like to experience “Empty Nose Syndrome,” I bet you’ll take note of your breathing. If you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it. It was particularly persuasive to me, as I had read this while lying in a hospital bed with a “nasogastric” tube inserted, quite unpleasantly, from my nose to my stomach.

Regardless, everyone who is considering sinus surgery should read it. And according to statistics from 2006, that’s a lot of people. Roughly 600,000 per year. And it does look like the medical community is taking notice. There have been eight publications with “empty nose syndrome” in the title this year alone, according to my PubMed search.

But with that many surgeries happening, you can bet there are some doctors who still don’t know. So patients need to protect themselves and bring the issue up with the surgeon. If the surgeon doesn’t take the concern seriously, shop for another one. Otherwise, you could end up like these people:

Luckily, for patients in Washington State with ENS, the laws are slightly better. They should have a year from discovery of ENS, so long as suit is filed within eight years of the initial surgery. And Washington, unlike other states, places no tort caps on the value of lost homes, marriages, families, and independence. So if you are a Washington patient with ENS, and you weren’t warned about it before your sinus surgery, talk to a qualified medical malpractice attorney as soon as you can.

And if you’re a sinus patient, don’t worry about making your doctor uncomfortable with too many questions. You don’t get a second chance.