What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus lining caused by bacterial, viral and / or microbial infections; as well as structural issues like blockages of the sinus opening (ostium). If the sinus opening (ostium) is closed, normal mucus drainage may not occur – this condition may lead to infection and inflammation of the sinuses.

What are the different types of Sinusitis?

There are two main categories of sinusitis: acute and chronic. Sinusitis is usually preceded by a cold, allergy attack or irritation from environmental pollutants. Often, the resulting symptoms, such as nasal pressure, nasal congestion, a “runny nose,” and fever, run their course in a few days. However, if symptoms persist, a bacterial infection or acute sinusitis may develop. If sinusitis occurs frequently or lasts three months or longer, it may be chronic sinusitis.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

Common symptoms may include:

  • Facial pain, pressure
  • Nasal congestion or fullness
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Discharge of yellow or green mucus from the nose
  • Teeth pain
  • Loss of the sense of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath

What are the treatment options?

The most frequently used treatments for sinusitis are medical therapies and / or conventional sinus surgery.

Medical Therapy – Sinusitis is typically treated first with medication. Treatment with antibiotics or topical nasal steroid sprays is often successful in reducing mucosal swelling, fighting infection, and relieving obstructions of the sinus opening. Inhaling steam or using nasal saline sprays or drops may also help relieve sinus discomfort. However, at least 20% of patients do not respond adequately to medications.6-9

Conventional Sinus Surgery – called Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) is often the next step toward finding sinusitis relief. Specialized instruments are placed into the nose along with a small endoscope to help the surgeon see inside the nose and nasal cavities. The procedure works by removing bone and tissue to enlarge the sinus opening and may lead to post-operative pain and bleeding that requires uncomfortable nasal packing to control.

Approximately 500,000 FESS procedures are performed each year in the U.S. 10-12
As in medical therapy treatments where a patient can choose between sprays, antibiotics, steroids, and others, sinus surgery options include conventional surgical devices as well as the Relieva Balloon Sinuplasty™ system of devices.

This alternative system in endoscopic sinus surgery uses minimally invasive sinus balloon catheters to position a balloon into the blocked sinus passageway. The balloon is then inflated to gently restructure and open the sinus passageway, restoring normal sinus drainage and function often without tissue or bone removal.

Lawnwood Medical Center now offers minimally invasive balloon sinuplasty. For more information about the procedure and for a physician referral call (772) 742-9050.