Experts estimate that approximately 37 million people suffer from sinus infections every year. The facial sinuses are air spaces behind the bones of the upper face, between the eyes and behind the forehead, nose and cheeks. The sinuses are covered with a mucus layer and cilia, whose purpose is to trap and expel bacteria and pollutants.
Each sinus has an opening that allows mucous to drain – this drainage is essential to keeping your sinuses working well and you healthy. Anything that obstructs the flow may cause a buildup of mucus in the sinuses and trigger sinusitis symptoms.
“Sinusitis” means inflammation of the sinuses, whether caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus. Sinusitis symptoms may mimic those of allergies or colds, thus complicating the diagnosis. Symptoms that strongly suggest sinusitis may include discolored, yellow or green nasal drainage lasting over 10 days, persistent post-nasal drainage, facial pressure or upper tooth pain, congestion, fatigue and malaise, and frontal headaches. Conditions that inhibit sinus drainage, such as polyps, enlarged turbinates (shelves of thin bone on the side wall of the nose), a deviated septum, or mucosal swelling from allergies, colds or inhaled irritants, can contribute to the development of sinusitis.
Sinusitis is often diagnosed based on the history of symptoms and a complete ear, nose and throat exam. A CT scan of the sinuses may be needed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent, and possible contributing causes, of the sinusitis. Treatment for sinusitis varies based upon the duration and recurrence of the infections and the results of the CT scan. Non-surgical therapy, including antibiotics and other medications are prescribed for acute and chronic sinus infections. For some patients with chronic or recurrent sinus infections despite medical treatment, minimally invasive sinus surgery may be recommended.
IMAGE GUIDED SURGERY:
Since the sinuses are physically close to the brain, eyes and major vessels, a new technology, image-guided endoscopic surgery, assists in alleviating the concern of injury during surgery. Image guidance surgery may be recommended for patients with severe forms of chronic sinusitis, in cases in which previous sinus surgery has altered anatomical landmarks, or when a patient’s sinus anatomy is very unusual, making typical surgery difficult.
Image guidance is a near-three-dimensional mapping system that combines computed tomography (CT) scans with infrared signals to provide real-time information during surgery as to the exact position of the surgical instruments. With this technology, our surgeons can navigate through complex sinus passages and provide precise surgical relief. More info.