An earache, nasal congestion, and sore throat appear to be common hay fever symptoms. But if you experience some of these symptoms for more than 12 weeks, you may be suffering from chronic sinusitis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.4 million adults have been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, resulting in 11.7 million visits to the doctor. That adds up to quite a few co-pays and sick days.
It only takes a bad case of allergies, or asthma, to bring on sinusitis. These symptoms are easy to identify, but other causes may need to be investigated by your Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist (ENT).
Popular treatments include antibiotics, immunotherapy (administered through allergy shots), nasal sprays, or corticosteroids. For those taking aspirin irregularly, it’s also possible the sinusitis is brought on by an aspirin reaction.
Surgery is the last resort prescribed by physicians due to its invasive nature. The main goal of traditional sinus surgery is to clear a blocked/malformed nasal passage. This will prevent fluid buildup and infection.
The goal of this surgery is to remove a stray piece of tissue or bone from the nasal passage. In pediatric cases, this procedure also enables doctors to remove foreign objects from a child’s nasal passages.
Hospital admission is necessary, since a patient is put under anesthesia. The doctor generally enters the sinus cavity through an incision in the mouth or facial skin. Fluid in the infected area is then drained; sometimes a cavity is left open temporarily to continue drainage.
After surgery, gauze is used to absorb draining fluids and prevent infection. Changing gauze several times a day and taking antibiotics also aid in infection prevention. Strenuous exercise should be avoided and blowing your nose is out of the question- at least for a couple days.
While traditional sinus surgery is effective, most ENTs will recommend a less-invasive outpatient procedure.
Balloon Sinuplasty is an outpatient procedure in medical centers, but some doctors will perform the procedure in their offices. Since local anesthesia is used, patients not eligible for general anesthesia can take advantage of the procedure.
During this procedure, the physician uses a small balloon-like catheter inserted through a nostril. The doctor accomplishes this by squeezing the flattened catheter through the blocked opening then inflating it. The catheter is then used to flush out the infected cavity with saline, which drains out the fluids.
After the infected mucus is cleared out, the catheter is deflated and removed, leaving a widened opening behind.
The recovery time is roughly two days. To be safe, the ENT may prescribe an antibiotic regimen to prevent an infection from recurring. Given the ease of patient recovery, it makes sense why Balloon Sinuplasty is rising in popularity.
Before Balloon Sinuplasty,traditional sinus surgery was the only option available; now surgery is reserved for more severe cases of chronic sinusitis or removing large physical growths.