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Sinus Disease/Allergies

Woman blowing her nose due to allergies

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What is sinus surgery?

We all have sinuses (such as the cheek sinus aka maxillary sinus, or the forehead sinus aka frontal sinus, etc) that make mucus and drain naturally. Sometimes, there is production of too much mucus such as with allergies or recurrent infections and the sinuses can’t drain adequately. Sinus surgery is used to open these tiny drainage pathways so that the sinuses can drain more efficiently. Sinus surgery is typically done as an outpatient procedure.

What is the role of allergies with sinus disease?

There are many types of allergens including environmental and seasonal that can affect the nose. These allergens can cause swelling of the lining of the nose and sinuses which causes mucus production and nasal congestion. Occasionally, this increased mucus production cannot drain effectively and patients can get a sinus infection or it can lead to chronic inflammation of the sinuses.

Are there any medical treatments for sinus disease?

Sinus disease is first attempted to be treated medical prior to any surgical intervention. The typical treatment regimen includes daily use of an inhaled nasal corticosteroid (such as Flonase or Nasocort) AND daily nasal irrigations. Sometimes we also prescribe oral antibiotics and/or oral steroids. Patients that fail maximal medical therapy or continue to get recurrent episodes of acute sinusitis are then candidates for sinus surgery.

What is the recovery for sinus surgery?

Typical recovery is about one week; however, most patients do not have that much pain after surgery. Patients will have some nasal congestion after surgery especially since a dissolvable nasal dressing is used to help prevent scar formation. In order to speed up the recovery and healing process, it is imperative that patients use nasal saline irrigations starting on the first day after surgery.

What is balloon sinuplasty?

Balloon sinuplasty has been developed in the last 10 years as an alternative to sinus surgery. It is less invasive than sinus surgery and can often be done in the office. Studies have shown that balloon sinuplasty is at least as effective as sinus surgery but is not necessarily more effective than sinus surgery. However, not all patients are good candidates for balloon sinuplasty.

How do I know if I am a candidate for balloon sinuplasty?

This is dependent on the extent of your sinus disease, your anatomy, and also your personality. If you are a person that tends to get a lot of anxiety, an in-office procedure may not be right for you. Also, if you have severe sinus disease than balloon sinuplasty may not be the most effective treatment. The best way to find out if you are a candidate or not is to come in for a consultation so you can have an informative discussion with your doctor.

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