Sinusitis and chronic sinus disease
Sinusitis is defined as the inflammation or swelling of the sinus’s tissue lining. While healthy sinuses are filled with air, they can become blocked and full of fluid. When this happens, germs are prone to grow, which can lead to an infection. Sinusitis can be characterized as either acute (which generally lasts around 10 days, but can last up to 4 weeks, usually occurring following a cold or the flu) or chronic (greater than 3 months in duration, usually resulting from constant nasal irritation by allergens or anatomic obstruction). Sinusitis can be caused by multiple conditions: for example, the inability of the sinuses to drain because of obstruction or poor movement of mucous. It can also be caused by allergies or a cold, especially if it is acute sinusitis. If it is a case of chronic sinusitis, it can often be more difficult to pin down the cause. Possibilities include problems with the nasal passage structure or a growth, such as a nasal polyp.
Symptoms of sinusitis include nasal congestion, postnasal drip, thick green or clear nasal drainage, facial pain or pressure, a fever, a headache, upper jaw or teeth pain, reduced sense of smell or taste, and chronic cough. Sinus relief can be achieved, whether acute or chronic sinusitis. However, treatment is based on your symptoms and an examination. Treatments vary, and can range from medications such as antibiotics or decongestants to sinus surgery. Your ENT physician will know best how to develop a treatment plan that is optimal for your particular sinus condition at issue and your unique situation and needs.
Endoscopic sinus surgery
With the latest technological advances, it is possible to perform minimally invasive surgery to provide sinus relief in the case of chronic sinusitis. The most common method of sinus surgery used today to relieve sinus pain is endoscopic sinus surgery. The purpose of endoscopic Sinus surgery is to correct any anatomic barriers to the drainage of the sinuses, with the goal of correcting sinusitis. This may include straightening the nasal septum, removing tissue blocking the sinus openings, or widening the natural openings of the sinuses.
The surgery is done with special cameras called endoscopes placed through the nose, meaning there is no longer a need to perform any visible incisions on the face. The procedure usually lasts between 30 to 90 minutes. Additionally, new technologies such as intraoperative CAT scan guidance systems and balloon dilation techniques have been developed, which can increase the success rate of the surgery while also decreasing the complication rate. Performing endoscopic sinus surgery means that patients will have minimal nasal packing, relatively little pain, and dramatically shorter recovery times. Most patients who have sinus surgery go home the same day and are allowed to recover in the comfort of their own home. During the first 2 weeks, there will be some discomfort and bleeding, with weekly doctor visits for a few weeks after the surgery.
Another additional technique for sinus surgery is Balloon Sinuplasty™, a method that requires absolutely no cutting or removal of tissue or bone. A safe and effective method to help relieve chronic sinusitis, Balloon Sinuplasty stands out due to its minimal recovery time. Over 535,000 patients have used it, with many of them returning to normal activities within 2 days. During the procedure, your ENT physician will open the inflamed sinuses in the same way heart surgeons open up blocked arteries when performing balloon angioplasties. It allows the ENT physician to find the natural opening and drainage pathways of the sinuses and then to dilate them to allow for improved ventilation and drainage. This procedure is performed in a minimally invasive manner, resulting in minimal pain and scar tissue development.
Balloon Sinuplasty is thus less invasive than more traditional methods, but is still effective at providing sinus relief for chronic sinus pain. The procedure uses local anesthesia, which means it can be done in your physician’s office relatively quickly. This makes the procedure a beneficial option for patients who are ineligible for general anesthesia, or who simply prefer to have the procedure take place in a more familiar environment as opposed to in a hospital operating room. To find out if you are a candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty or any of our other sinus relief procedures, get in touch with us.
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Call us today in Clear Lake at (281) 332-4575.