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 Chronic Sinusitis

  • Sinusitis affects 37 million Americans each year, making it one of the most common health problems.
    •  More Americans suffer from sinusitis than diabetes, asthma or coronary heart disease.
  • With sinusitis, the cavities of the sinuses become inflamed and swollen and prevent normal mucus drainage, causing mucus and pressure to build up.
  • Sinusitis symptoms include:
    • drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
    •  nasal obstruction or congestion
    • or tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead.
  • The impact of chronic sinusitis on a person’s quality of life could include throbbing facial pain or headaches, difficulty breathing and sleeping, bad breath, irritability, fatigue, nausea and loss or reduced sense of taste.
  • Sinusitis that lasts longer than 12 weeks is known as chronic sinusitis.
  • Otolaryngologists, commonly referred to as ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) physicians, treat conditions of the ears, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck; this would include chronic sinusitis.
  • Individuals who think they may have chronic sinusitis should ask their general practitioner or primary care physician to recommend or refer them to an Ear, Nose and Throat physician (an otolaryngology specialist).
    • Patients report they often confuse sinus infection symptoms with allergy symptoms. This means patients may not be getting optimal care for their condition.
    • Individuals who experience frequent sinus infections may be prone to developing chronic sinusitis.
  • An ENT physician may use several methods to help screen for chronic sinusitis: visual inspection, nasal endoscopy, CT scan, and/or nasal and sinus cultures.
  • When a chronic sinusitis diagnosis is made by an ENT physician, patients are treated with medication, e.g., nasal steroid sprays, antibiotics, or oral steroids to relieve symptoms.
  • It is estimated that up to 60 percent of chronic sinusitis sufferers are not successfully treated with medication.
  • Patients who do not respond well to medications become candidates for conventional sinus surgery.

Endoscopic sinus surgery is a surgical procedure used to remove blockages in the sinuses. See how the sinuses work. These blockages can cause sinusitis, and other conditions, in which the sinuses swell and become blocked, causing pain and impaired breathing.

Benefits
Endoscopic sinus surgery is used to relieve symptoms associated with:

• Sinusitis
• Septal deviations or turbinate hypertrophy
• Nasal polyps

Goals
Endoscopic sinus surgery is designed to improve the drainage of the sinuses as well as to improve airflow through the nose. Endoscopic sinus surgery goals include:

• Reduction of the number and severity of sinus infections
• Improvement in symptoms associated with sinusitis
• Improvement of airflow through the nose
• In many cases there is an improvement in a patient’s sense of smell

Surgical Treatment Options

  • Endoscopic sinus surgery is performed under general anesthesia.
  • Dr. Harrison will use an endoscope, a thin camera rod with a light at the end to provide visualization and magnification of the sinus tissues.
  • Specialized instruments can be used to safely and effectively remove causes of sinus blockage such as natural blockages, nasal polyps, and scar tissue.
  • Specialized instruments are also used to straighten the septum and reduce the size of the turbinates if required.
  • Endoscopic sinus surgery does not involve cutting through the skin, as it is performed entirely through the nostrils. Therefore, most people can go home the same day.