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Sinus Surgery: A Definitive Guide

  • Jul 08
  • ENT

Many of you miss your work or school because of an uncomfortable feeling in your sinus. Is it cold? or something more than that?

Cold is often mistaken for Sinus infection. So before you run to the drugstore, understand your infection. If it’s a sinus infection, it needs attention. You might wonder what is sinus. Sinus is nothing but a small, air-filled cavity behind your cheekbones and forehead. Its job is to produce mucus which usually drains through the nose. When sinuses are infected, they are unable to drain and get trapped. Thus sinus passage becomes obstructed and sinus chambers fill up with pus. As a result, your sinus swells up causing congestion and discomfort. It can make you hard to breathe due to blockage and inflammation. So when things go wrong with the sinus, people experience intense pain and struggle to participate in everyday life. Sinus infections usually clear up on their own with two or three weeks but for the occasional resistant cases, Sinus Surgery is required. The treatment for Sinus has evolved rapidly by leaps and bounds with more medications and surgeries.

Types of Sinusitis

  • Acute sinusitis
  • Chronic sinusitis

Symptoms of Sinusitis
Symptoms may vary greatly and last for months if left untreated. Notify your doctor promptly if you are experiencing one or more of these warning symptoms.

  • A thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose and sometimes down the back of the throat
  • Causing difficulty breathing through your nose with nasal obstruction or congestion
  • The area around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead may experience Pain, tenderness, swelling and pressure
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste
  • Cough, which may be worse at night

Other signs and symptoms include - Ear pain, Headache, Aching in your upper jaw and teeth, Bad breath (halitosis), Fatigue, Fever, Sore throat and Nausea.

Causes of Sinusitis
First, it's crucial to find the cause of Sinusitis. What triggers Sinusitis? Several factors can cause your sinus passages to get blocked and lead to this condition. Identifying the underlying cause can reduce inflammation and can even prevent it from coming back. Some of the main causes include

  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Allergic reactions
  • Nasal polyps or tumours
  • Deviated nasal septum
  • Tooth infection
  • Trauma to the face
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Immune System cells
  • Other medical conditions

Complications of Sinusitis: If left untreated, it can bring breathing problems thereby reduces oxygen intake. Sinuses share blood vessels with the eyes and parts of the central nervous system. So, potentially life-threatening complications like Asthma flare-ups, Meningitis, Vision problems, Aneurysms or blood clots, Ear infection should be prevented.

Risk factors for Sinusitis: The following factors may increase the risks of getting Sinusitis:

  • A nasal passage abnormality
  • Aspirin sensitivity
  • An immune system disorder
  • Hay fever or another allergic condition
  • Asthma
  • Regular exposure to pollutants.

Tests for Sinusitis: The Potential complication of sinusitis must seek immediate medical attention. The following tests can reveal the details about the sinusitis and pinpoint the inflammation. The basic tests include Physical examination, Nasal endoscopy, Imaging studies, Nasal and sinus cultures and Allergy testing.

How can you prevent it?

  • Avoid upper respiratory infections
  • Carefully manage your allergies
  • Avoid cigarette smoke and polluted air
  • Use a humidifier

The treatment depends on the cause, severity and duration of symptoms.

  • Saline nasal spray
  • Nasal corticosteroids
  • Decongestants
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Antibiotics

If the problem persists and medications are unanswered, Surgery is the go-to option. Surgeries provide satisfactory outcomes and gratifying results with more open, clear nasal passages without any side effects.

  • Endoscopy
  • Balloon Sinuplasty

Endoscopy: The main goal of this accepted standard approach is to clear the blocked passages and flush out the infected material. This common procedure involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with an attached light and camera, to explore your sinus passages. Through the camera, the doctors spot the blockages and remove the polyps, scar tissue or any other obstruction with utmost care.

Balloon Sinuplasty: This newer type of surgery took the field of sinus surgery a step further with a small balloon attached at one end of a thin tube which doctor inserts into your nose. This opens up the blocked sinus passageway and facilitates drainage of the mucus. This is minimally invasive sinus surgery, so generally painless and reduces the risk of infection, blood loss, bruising and swelling. This involves no incisions and no cutting of nasal tissues or bone which in turn helps the patients to recover fast. Although the chance of complications is less, it is essential to understand the major concerns for a speedy recovery. Avoid nose blowing and straining soon after the surgery. Post-surgery, doctors schedule regular follow-ups and monitor your recovery to ensure that symptoms of sinusitis are effectively managed. Diagnostic tests and prompt medical care can help reduce the likelihood of another sinusitis.

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