Main content

    Advanced Sinus Services

    Helping you breathe easier

    Chronic Sinusitis

    An estimated 37 million people suffer from sinusitis, making it one of the most common health conditions in the United States. The actual number of sinusitis cases may be significantly higher since the symptoms are similar to those of a cold or allergies, and many sufferers never seek help from a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

    If you have ever had a cold or allergy attack that just wouldn’t go away, there’s a good chance you actually had sinusitis. This often painful condition can cause headaches or pressure in the eyes, nose, cheek area, or on one side of the head.

    What is sinusitis?

    Sinuses are the air-filled pockets around the nose. Each sinus has an opening through which mucus drains. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of these pockets caused by bacterial, viral and/or microbial infections; as well as structural issues like narrow sinus openings or facial injury. If the opening is too narrow or constricted, normal mucus drainage may not occur, leading to congestion and infection of the sinuses.

    What are the symptoms of chronic sinusitis?

    The signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis are similar to acute sinusitis, except they last more than eight weeks or recur time and time again, and often cause more significant fatigue.

    Symptoms of sinusitis include:

    • A thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
    • Nasal congestion or difficulty breathing through your nose
    • Throbbing, pain, tenderness or swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
    • Aching in your upper jaw and teeth
    • Reduced sense of smell and taste
    • Cough, which sometimes may worsen at night
    • Fever
    • Bad breath (halitosis)

    The symptoms of sinusitis can often be relieved by active use of nasal saline rinses, over-the-counter decongestants or, in patients with significant allergies, topical steroids. Antibiotics can also help fight off the infection if it persists beyond seven days. When these standard treatments don’t work, or if the infections recur, patients should seek a referral to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.

    How is sinusitis diagnosed?

    To look for the cause of your symptoms, your doctor will first do a visual inspection and feel for tenderness in your nose or throat. Using a tool to hold your nose open and applying medication to constrict the blood vessels in your nasal passages allows your doctor to look inside your nasal passages for inflammation or excess fluid and to rule out physical conditions that trigger sinusitis, such as nasal polyps or other abnormalities.

    Your doctor may also use the following methods to diagnose sinusitis:

    • Nasal endoscopy: A thin, flexible tube (endoscope) with a fiber-optic light is inserted through your nose to allow your doctor to see inside your nasal cavity.
    • Imaging: Images taken using computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can show details of your sinuses and nasal area. These may identify a deep inflammation or physical obstruction.

    How is sinusitis treated?

    Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of action for you based on your specific diagnosis. Treatment may include:

    • Antibiotic Therapy: Your doctor may prescribe an appropriate antibiotic—a medicine that kills the bacteria that causes infection. Your doctor will tell you how long you need to take the medicine. It’s important to complete the entire course of the medication, even if you feel better after the first few days.
    • Sinus Surgery: Surgery should be considered only if medical treatment fails or if there is a nasal obstruction that cannot be corrected with medications. During endoscopic sinus surgery, your doctor uses an endoscope to see inside your sinuses and determine the source of obstruction. Your doctor may then remove the diseased tissue or shave away a polyp that’s causing nasal blockage. Enlarging a narrow sinus opening also may be an option to promote drainage. Be sure to follow your doctor’s pre- and post-operative instructions for the best results.

    Physicians at Eden Medical Center also use image-guided surgery (IGS) which compares data taken from preoperative CT scans of the patient’s sinuses with information it receives during surgery from special sensors strategically placed on the patient’s head and the surgeon’s instruments. These sensors and instruments connect to the computer , giving the surgeon real time, three-dimensional images of the patient’s sinuses and the location of the surgeon’s instruments.

    Balloon Sinuplasty™

    A revolutionary, minimally-invasive procedure called Balloon Sinuplasty is available at Eden Medical Center. The procedure uses an FDA-cleared device to gently open the sinus, without the need to remove tissue or bone.

    How is Balloon Sinuplasty performed?

    During this procedure, your doctor threads a guide wire equipped with a tiny balloon into the nostrils to the area of blockage. The balloon is then inflated to gently widen the passages in the sinus and clear the blockage. Sinuses are opened in the same way that doctors open up blocked arteries during a balloon angioplasty.

    What are the benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty?

    The procedure is safe and can be performed on children, as well as adults. Patients often report immediate relief from the pain and congestion of sinusitis. Because it’s minimally-invasive, there is reduced bleeding, bruising and pain, and a faster recovery time. Most patients are able to return to normal activities within 48 hours.

    Is Balloon Sinuplasty covered by my insurance?

    Most likely, yes. Most insurance companies cover sinus surgery with Balloon Sinuplasty devices. To be certain of your coverage, contact your insurance provider to find out your specific coverage policy.

    Medicare also covers endoscopic sinus surgery when any combination of tools, including a balloon catheter, is used to perform the procedure.