Do you have sinusitis?
- Facial pressure
- Nasal congestion (difficulty breathing through your nose)
- Drainage down the back of your throat (post-nasal drip)
- Nasal discharge
- Chronic, non-productive cough (especially in children)
- Discomfort and pain of upper teeth
- Worsening asthma symptoms
If you are like many patients, you may have misdiagnosed yourself as having allergies or a cold, when you actually have sinusitis. It’s important to see Regional ENT Associates to get a proper diagnosis. Their expertise and care can help you get back to feeling better and doing what you love as quickly as possible.
Click HERE to take a brief test that can help determine if you are suffering from sinus problems or something else.
What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis affects 37 million people each year, making it one of the most common health problems in the U.S. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus lining that prevents normal mucus drainage through the nose. This blockage causes mucus and fluids to build up in the sinuses and can lead to very uncomfortable symptoms. Patients in the US suffering from sinus infections are estimated to miss a total of 73 million days of work. That’s a lot of people that suffer from sinus problems!
Regional ENT Associates offers complete care for patients suffering with sinus problems. We provide regular medical care as well as cutting edge procedures such as balloon sinus dilation and neurocranial navigation image guidance.
Sinuses are small hollow areas within your head. These areas are found on both sides of your face and are named (frontal sinus, ethmoid sinus, maxillary sinus, sphenoid sinus). The sinus cavities have a moist lining that produces mucous, just like the inside of your mouth and nose.
When the natural drainage pathways of your sinuses get blocked from inflammation or a structural abnormality (scar tissue, trauma, inflammation), fluid gets stuck within the sinus cavities. It eventually becomes stagnant and bacteria can begin to grow, causing a sinus infection. Other causes of sinusitis include fungal (mold), and allergic. Patients with allergic sinusitis do not necessarily have an infection, but their allergies cause significant inflammation which blocks up their sinus drainage and causes many of the same symptoms as patients with bacterial or fungal sinusitis.
Sinusitis can be rapid and short (acute), or slow growing and persistent (chronic). Both types of sinusitis can result in significant discomfort and disability if left untreated. Treatments for sinus disease are usually performed with the goals of:
- Improve nasal airflow and breathing
- Decrease the frequency and severity of sinus infections
- Decrease the unwanted symptoms of sinus infections
- Avoid the possible severe complications of untreated sinusitis (vision problems, orbital cellulitis, intracranial infection and abscess)
- Improve control of asthma or reactive airway disease
How is sinusitis treated?
For patients with an acute (sudden) attack of sinusitis, medical management is the most commonly used treatment. Patients will often be given an antibiotic and possibly a short course of steroids. They may be instructed to use nasal sprays that contain either a steroid or antihistamine medication. In addition, a CT scan may be ordered, and nasal irrigations may also be ordered.
If the infection becomes severe, or the patient gets multiple sinus infections despite trying medications, they may benefit from surgical treatment (sinus surgery) in addition to medications. This may be functional endoscopic sinus surgery or balloon sinus dilation (sinuplasty).
Patients who develop chronic sinusitis (long lasting sinus problems) are also treated first with medication. Steroids, antibiotics, allergy testing and possibly allergy shots may be beneficial. If medications do not create relief of the patient’s sinus problem, patients with chronic sinusitis may also benefit from sinus surgery. In addition to sinus surgery or balloon dilation, patients may also require septoplasty and/or turbinate reduction surgery when appropriate.
Balloon sinus dilation is the most recent and a very exciting advancement in treatments available for patients with sinusitis. It is used in appropriate patients who suffer from chronic rhinosinusitis or recurrent acute rhinosinusitis and continue to have sinus problems even after trying the best available medical therapies.
Balloon sinus dilation (sinuplasty) uses a small surgical camera and a fiberoptic guided sinus locator to identify the natural sinus drainage passages. Once in position, a small balloon on the tip of the locator device is dilated. This opens up the clogged sinus drainage pathways so that they can drain properly.
Balloon dilation also serves to reset the mucosal lining of the drainage pathways, allowing the opportunity for healthier, new tissues to grow back in their place. There is no cutting or removal of tissue with balloon dilation. Because of this, the recovery is very short, and the pain experienced by most patients after surgery is low. In general, there is no nasal packing and you can start nasal rinses the day after surgery.
Image guidance is a new technology that advanced surgical centers use for sinus surgery procedures. Almost all patients undergo a CT scan of their sinuses prior to surgery. With image guidance technology, this CT scan is synchronized on a monitor with the instruments that the surgeon is using.
Because of the synchronization of the CT scan with the surgical instruments, the surgeon can confirm that the location of his instrument within the nose and sinuses is correct. This is important because the natural sinus drainage pathways are small and may not be easily identified with the sinus camera alone. Additionally, there are very important anatomic structures next to the nasal sinuses. These structures include the eyes and the brain and large vessels such as the internal carotid artery. Although using a neurocranial image guidance system while performing sinus surgery is not mandatory, it is often useful and many surgeons choose to use it in a portion of their cases. Regional ENT has an advanced neurocranial image guidance system in their office.
About Regional ENT and Associates Sinus Treatment Program
Regional ENT physicians are board certified head and neck surgeons. Our doctors perform a high volume of sinus and nasal procedures both in the comfort of our office as well as at outpatient surgery centers and hospitals. We treat patients from all over the Nashville area included Lebanon, Mt Juliet, Gallatin and Hendersonville Tennessee. If you would like to schedule an appointment to be evaluated for sinus problems, please click here.