What Are Sinuses?
Your sinuses are interconnected, air filled structures in your skull. There are made up of four pairs:
- Maxillary (in the cheekbones)
- Frontal (low-center of the forehead)
- Ethmoid (between the eyes)
- Sphenoid (behind the nasal cavity)
No one knows for sure why we have sinuses. Some believe they help increase the moisture level of the air we breathe in while others suspect sinuses help enhance our voices.
The sinuses are lined with a smooth pink tissue called mucosa. They connect to the nose through tiny openings called ostia.
These tiny openings can become easily blocked or inflamed, leading to sinus pain and pressure, nasal congestion, drainage, fatigue and other problems.
The dedicated professionals at ENT Associates of Worcester are here to help with all your sinus needs. We have the resources available to help diagnose and treat any sinus related problem you may develop.
What Kind of Doctor Treats Sinus Issues?
An otolaryngologist is a physician trained in the medical and surgical management of ear, nose and throat diseases and disorders. Commonly referred to as ENTs, they identify and treat diseases of the ears, nose, sinuses, larynx, mouth, throat and structures of the face and neck. Otolaryngologists complete up to 15 years of college and post-graduate training, including medical school. Many also complete a one- or two-year fellowship to gain more extensive training. All otolaryngologists must be certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology.
How Are Sinus Issues Diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and medical history and complete a physical exam. This involves visually inspecting your nose for inflammation and other obstructions. Your doctor may also use nasal endoscopy or a CT scan for a more in-depth look.
In nasal endoscopy your doctor inserts a flexible fiberoptic tube with a lighted camera on the end (endoscope) into your nasal cavity. This provides a detailed view of your nasal cavity (nose) and helps assess the ability of your sinuses to drain.
A computerized tomography (CT) scan uses computer software to analyze a series of X-rays to put together a detailed image of your sinuses. This provides your doctor with a more 3-dimensional view of your anatomy.
Treatment of sinusitis focuses on decreasing the swelling and inflammation that is blocking the sinus openings. Saline nasal sprays rinse your nasal passages to help relieve inflammation. Nasal steroid sprays (and sometimes oral steroids) anti-histamines, and antileukotrienes, are also effective, especially when allergies or nasal polyps are part of the problem. Decongestants can be another helpful, short-term solution.
When medicines do not completely resolve the issue, your doctor may consider the possibility that the openings of your sinuses need to be widened with a procedure. There are multiple ways to do this.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)
This surgery uses a nasal endoscope to visualize the natural drainage pathways of the sinuses. Specialized instruments are then used to remove tissue to widen those pathways. It is usually done in the operating room.
Propel Sinus Implants
This is a technology that significantly improves the results of Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery. This dissolvable implant is inserted into the surgically widened sinus openings. These steroid implants are especially effective at preventing the regrowth of nasal polyps.
Balloon sinuplasty revolutionized sinusitis treatment. It does not require any tissue to be removed! This operation is minimally invasive, and can easily be done in the office. It is just as effective as traditional Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery, and results in a much quicker recovery.
Image Guided Surgery
This technology coordinates a 3D CT scan mapping system with computer chips embedded in your surgeon’s instruments through the use of infrared signals. This allows the surgeon to accurately link your anatomy with the scan to more safely and accurately guide those instruments through complex sinus passages.
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