Sinusitis occurs when sinuses become irritated and inflamed, usually due to infections or some other cause such as a blockage. When the sinuses become blocked by this inflammation, fluid and pressure builds up in these air-containing cavities in the face, resulting in pain, pressure, headaches and chronic nose drainage.
Symptoms may feel very similar to those of the common cold; however, if they persist for weeks, then it is possible you are suffering from sinusitis. Here is a list of possible symptoms that can be caused by sinusitis:
- Facial Pain and pressure,
- Facial tenderness and swelling
- Pain and pressure around eyes
- Ear pain, popping or pressure
- Post nasal drip unresponsive to common medications
- Nasal congestion
- Irritated throat
- Bad breath
- Sleep disordered breathing
TYPES OF SINUSITIS
It is common for this type of sinusitis to come on quickly, similar to the effects of a cold. It usually lasts less than 10 days and may be resolved through over-the-counter medication and/or antibiotics if this is a bacterial infection.
If you have frequent episodes of acute sinusitis, then you are likely suffering from what is referred to as recurrent sinusitis. Symptoms may be treated with medications but usually return shortly thereafter. In this situation there is a recurring problem in the nose such as a deviated septum that is partly obstructing the sinuses.
Chronic sinusitis is a condition where patients suffer from symptoms for weeks or months at a time. Even after taking antibiotics or steroids, patients may still experience the effects of the condition. These patients have often failed over the counter medications, nasal rinses, different antibiotics and seem to be getting worse over time.
There are quite a few different treatment options available for sinusitis, depending on the cause of the condition. The initial treatments are antibiotics, decongestants and rinses. If this fails and the symptoms worsen, the next step is Balloon Sinuplasty.
Balloon Sinuplasty is a new minimally invasive treatment option for sinusitis symptom relief. A small balloon catheter is passed through the nose into the sinus openings and inflated, this gently opens the natural drainage pathways of the sinuses. It can be done under twilight sedation or light anesthesia and takes less than one hour.
The balloon technique is so successful that we now open the tube to the ear from the nose – Eustachian tube dilation works for people with popping and pressurized ears particularly during flying at altitude.
Septoplasty involves straightening the middle cartilage and center bone in the nose and can easily be done with Balloon Sinuplasty once the balloons have been removed after that part of the procedure.
Unfortunately, there are a few sources of chronic sinusitis that will require functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This usually is under general anesthesia and requires surgical opening of the sinus pathways. Sinus fungus and severe polyps may have to be removed from the nose and sinuses.
Nasal Valve Collapse refers to surgery of the opening of the nose to strengthen the entry passages of the nose. This collapse may be repaired with nasal dissolvable implants or grafted nose cartilage to strengthen the tip of the nose.
Chronic Post Nasal Drip can sometimes be treated by freezing the nerve that triggers the drip. This is called CLARIFIX and is very successful if all nasal sprays have failed and this often affects older patients.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are causes of sinusitis
Nasal blockage from anatomy such as deviated septum compounded by allergies and bacterial ingrowth into the sinuses, causes infection to spread into these air filled cavities around the eye and in the cheek.
Are there over the counter medications I can take?
If you suffer from acute sinusitis, the condition can typically be treated with medication and may even resolve if it is a virus (common cold sinus infection). However, if you are suffering from recurrent or chronic sinusitis that is not resolving despite multiple treatments, it is best to consult with a specialist. One the most important diagnostic tools is a CT scan of the sinuses. This can be done in minutes in our facility and gives the best detailed picture of what the sinuses are doing.
Are there any non-surgical treatment options?
A Balloon Sinuplasty, Endoscopic Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction may be an effective way to relieve symptoms of sinusitis.
While medications are an excellent way to help reduce the symptoms, it is common for even the strongest options to fall short of completely relieving the issues. Luckily, there are a few procedures that can help correct some of the congestion and breathing problems you may be experiencing.
By using an inflatable balloon inside the nasal passage into the sinus openings, The small eggshell openings of the sinuses are dilated enabling improved drainage. The procedure is minimally invasive and can be performed in the office with a local anesthetic with twilight anesthesia.
Turbinates are the side wall fingerlike membranes that provide filtering and humidity to the nose, sometimes they swell and become hypertrophied. In that case the patient may experience congestion and drainage. Excellent results are achieved when the inner part of these membranes are reduced with minor trimming or radio wave reduction. This is safe as long as the membranes are only reduced by about 10% in size and shape.
This procedure is minimally invasive and utilizes radio frequency energy to provide relief from airway obstructions. Typically, this procedure takes less than 30 minutes to complete under local anesthesia in the office.
Often used to correct issues with snoring, septoplasty is another strong option to help relieve breathing problems associated with sinusitis. Usually performed to correct snoring and sleep apnea, septoplasty involves straightening the patient’s midline cartilage.
It is often done in conjunction with cosmetic reconstruction of the nose (Rhinoplasty)
If you are interested in learning more about which procedure can relieve your sinusitis symptoms, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr C. Philip Amoils at Sinus Center LA, give our office a call at (310) 455-8272.