Sinusitis is a common medical ailment occurring when the sinus cavities in the upper skull become inflamed and do not drain property. When the sinuses accumulate fluid and mucus due to allergy or upper respiratory illness, their passages become obstructed. Without proper drainage, the impacted material becomes a fertile area for viruses, bacteria, or occasionally fungi to grow and create infection.
Causes of Sinusitis
The sinuses may become inflamed for a variety of reasons. Among the most common reasons for sinusitis to develop are:
- Colds or other respiratory infections, particularly recurrent ones
- Ear, nose and throat allergies
- Nasal polyps
- Deviated septum
- Blockage of drainage ducts
- Anatomical malformations of the nose or sinuses
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
Individuals with immune deficiencies, or those who take medications that suppress their immune systems, are at greater risk for sinusitis. Young children who drink bottles while lying on their backs or who use pacifiers and patients who have asthma may also be at greater risk for the disorder.
Types of Sinusitis
There are two basic ways in which sinusitis may be categorized: location and duration of infection.
Sinusitis can occur in any of the four pairs of sinus cavities, all of which are named for their locations:
Maxillary, under the eyes, behind the cheeks
Frontal, in the frontal bone of the forehead
Ethmoid, between the nose and eyes
Sphenoid, in the sphenoid bone, at the center of the pituitary gland
Sinusitis is also classified according to the duration of the infection as follows:
Acute, sinusitis lasts up to 4 weeks
Subacute, sinusitis lasts between 4 and 12 weeks
Chronic, sinusitis persists for more than 12 weeks
Recurrent, sinusitis occurs as several acute attacks within 1 year
Sinus surgery is performed to remove blockages and enlarge the openings that drain the sinuses. The sinuses are the hollow spaces behind the bones of the upper face, which can become blocked and inflamed, causing a buildup of mucus. This procedure can effectively treat conditions such as persistent nasal congestion, recurring sinus infections, polyps and tumors. Patients may turn to surgery to treat chronic sinus conditions or after other treatments including medications and nasal sprays have been unsuccessful in relieving symptoms.
A balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure during which a thin balloon catheter is inserted into the nose. The balloon is gradually inflated to relieve blockages and widen the sinus pathways.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery, or FESS
FESS is the most commonly performed sinus surgery. The operation is performed through the nose with tiny instruments while a thin tube with a tiny camera helps the surgeon visualize the area on a computer screen.
Image-guided surgery allows surgeons to operate with a more precise visualization of the sinuses by combining endoscopic techniques with innovative electromagnetic imaging.
Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated or deformed septum. The septum is the partition between the two nostrils. This corrective surgery opens the nasal passages and proper drainage of the sinuses resumes.
A polypectomy may be performed alone or in conjunction with another type of sinus surgery. It is a surgical procedure to remove polyps in the nose or sinuses which may be obstructing nasal drainage.
After sinus surgery, most patients experience major relief in symptoms such as facial pain and swelling, difficulty breathing and headaches. The frequency and duration of sinus infections are also greatly decreased.
Allergies are a common condition affecting one out of every five people. They are caused by an abnormal immune system response to certain triggers that are otherwise harmless. These triggers, called allergens, may cause symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, headaches, stomach pain and diarrhea. Although there is no cure for allergic reactions, there are many different treatment options to help control their symptoms.
Our doctors are specially trained to identify the specific allergens that trigger reactions in each person, and will help you develop the best defense against your individual allergies. A customized prevention and treatment plan helps relieve symptoms and allows patients to enjoy a better quality of life. While you may not be able to completely prevent allergies from affecting you, you can keep their troublesome symptoms to a minimum.
You can work to prevent symptoms from occurring by identifying the triggers that cause your symptoms, and then trying to avoid them as much as possible. When symptoms do arise, they can be treated with medications, antihistamines, nasal sprays or decongestants. There is no set treatment that works more effectively than others, so it is important to find out which treatment works best for you.