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31/Dec/2018

What are Sinuses?

Sinuses are the spaces within the bones of the face. They are supposed to be filled with air. Several theories exist as to why we have them. I have 2 favorites; Sinuses make our heads lighter, making it easier for the spine to carry, and sinuses are crumble zones, like the hood of a car crumbles during a collision to protect the cabin. Sinuses crumble to protect the brain. We do not breathe through our sinuses, we breathe through our noses.

What makes my Sinuses hurt?

Sinuses are lined with a thin layer of tissue that contain mucus glands. These glands make mucus that have to drain into the nose. Anything that stimulates those glands to make more mucus (such as allergies or infections) or blocks mucus drainage (such as swelling, nasal septum deviation, or polyps) will cause pressure or pain in the sinuses.

What is Sinus surgery?

Sinus surgery is a procedure that aims to open the passages of the sinuses to help mucus drain. It improves symptoms of sinus disease and creates easier access for the medications to reduce mucus production. Other reasons for Sinus surgery include: removal of tumors, removal of fungus, control of nose bleeds, drainage of abscesses in the eye sockets, drainage of tears, access to brain tumors, among many more.

The technological revolution in sinus surgery is AMAZING: the video cameras are small and Hi-definition; and we are able to link our surgical instruments to the CT scan of your sinuses. This truly creates surgical precision.

Sinus surgery is used as a last resort when other medical methods have failed. They include: sprays, allergy pills, irrigations, steroids, antibiotics, etc. In most cases, it is an outpatient procedure with very few complications in experienced hands.

How do I know if I need Sinus surgery?

The decision for surgery is based on multiple factors:

Do you truly have a sinus infection or it just in your nasal passages?

How long have you had problems?

Is the infection chronic or it comes-and-goes?

Have you tried every possible treatment to avoid surgery?

What is the cause of your problem: anatomical obstruction, allergies, or fungus?

What does your CT scan of the sinuses show?

What does your ENT doctor see on the office endoscopy?

How much has the infection affected your work schedule?

Does the sinus infection make your Asthma worse?

How much discomfort do you have from the sinus disease?

 

There are a number of criteria that are taken into considerations before the decision for surgery is made. There are a number of people that will have an accidental finding of sinus disease on a CT scan that was done for other reasons: to evaluate brain, eyes, teeth, neck masses, etc. It is important to consult your ENT specialist about the importance of these problems.

 

If you have a CD-ROM disc of your head, neck, or sinuses, Please, bring it with you to your ENT appointment. I would be happy to review the images with you. As you know, a picture is worth a thousand words. I am very proficient at reading these images, explaining the anatomy, and suggesting the next best course of treatment.


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30/Dec/2018

What is the function of the Thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland produces hormones that can cause hair changes, sleep disruptions, weight fluctuations, mood changes and much more. On the other hand, the gland itself can grow and push on it’s surroundings, form lumps, and even turn into cancer. It some cases it can even cause voice and swallowing problems.

How is the Thyroid gland function and size assessed?

The thyroid hormone level can be tested via blood work. The size of the thyroid gland or lumpiness may or may not be a cause for hormone disturbance. The shape, size, and presence of lumps inside of the thyroid gland is best assessed by the Ultrasound. The Ultrasound is performed by hand (unlike CAT scan and MRI that is performed by a computer), it is always better for the surgeon to personally evaluate the thyroid gland and have a mental picture of what is happening to the gland.

Most of the thyroid hormone abnormalities can be managed by medications. Low levels of the hormone are treated by hormone replacement. High levels of the hormone are treated based on the causes of over-production.

Most thyroid shape and structure abnormalities should be evaluated by a surgeon. The goal is to determine who can be monitored with scheduled ultrasound examinations, who should have a biopsy, and who should undergo surgery.

How do we make decision for treatment?

The American Thyroid Association is comprised by scientists, endocrinologists, surgeons, cancer specialists, among many more. The specialists review multiple scientific papers, research projects, and expert opinions. This organization releases guidelines that are developed on the most current scientific discoveries in the field of thyroid diseases. The guidelines serve as assistance for doctors in their decision. Most of the doctors that have dedicated themselves to treat thyroid diseases consult with these guidelines.

Where is the Thyroid gland located?

Thyroid means “shield” in the Greek language. It has right and left sides, and is connected in the middle. It is located in the middle of the neck just above the collar bones. It sits on top or near vital organs: trachea (windpipe), nerves to the voice box, esophagus (swallowing pipe), next to Carotid arteries. Despite the complex anatomy, in experienced hands, the removal of the diseased thyroid gland has low complication levels.

Should everyone who has abnormal looking thyroid gland have it removed?

Absolutely NOT! The decision about surgery is made based on guidelines, endocrinologist’s and surgeon’s expertise, patient’s health status, and even on patient’s desires/comfort levels.

How many surgeries have I done?

70% of my practice of over 10 years has been dedicated to the treatment of thyroid gland diseases. I personally perform ultrasound evaluations and biopsies. I follow the most current changes in the ATA guidelines, I am a member of American Thyroid Associations, I am a preceptor in the Ultrasound course for the surgeons, and I have been a guest-speaker on the surgical management of thyroid disease on several national-level meetings. Due to the shear volume of surgeries I have performed, it would be impossible to count.

 

 


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30/Dec/2018

Nose Bleeds (Epistaxis)

It is cold season again, and noses become congested, start to run, bleed, and drip. The most concerning, of course, is when you see blood coming from the nose – or in doctor’s language, EPISTAXIS. Why do our noses start to bleed? In children the most common cause is at the tip of their fingers: scratching, poking, picking, prodding, itching, and bumping. In adults, it is often the same. We all have been guilty of that. Unfortunately, there are other factors that make our nose bleed much faster, easier, and more profusely.

What are the factors that lead to nose bleeds?

Dry air: the humidity level drops in the winter time, our noses are not used to the dry air.

Deviated nasal septum (the midline wall separating the right and left sides): the shape of the septum affects the flow of the air, which may create a “dry spot” as we breath in the air.

Fragile blood vessels: the small vessels break easily in people who bruise easily, have diabetes, or take high blood pressure pills.

Health-promoting products: Vitamin E, Aspirin, Ginkgo Biloba all promote bleeding from the nose.

Nasal sprays: Flonase, Nasonex, Nasacort.

Where is the most common site of nose bleeds? The area of the Nasal Septum (wall in between two nostrils) very close to the nostrils. It is easy to apply pressure by squeezing nostrils together.

What can I do to prevent nose bleeds?

Keeping the inside of the nose moist.

Use over-the-counter Aquaphor or Vaseline twice a day.  Apply a pea-size amount with Q-tip to the both nostrils. As an alternative, antibiotic ointments can be applied in the same fashion for a period of 7 days: Bactroban, Bacitracin or Polysporin (NOT Neosporin).

Use a humidifier in your bedroom (warm or cold, and make sure to clean it weekly to avoid mold formation).

Avoid picking at the scab or picking your nose in general.

Ask your doctor if you can stop Aspirin for a week. Stop nasal sprays, vitamins and supplements for one week.

How can I stop active bleeding from the nose?

Use these steps:

1.     Blow the blood out your nose (the blood clots have substances that interfere with clotting).

2.     Use WARM water to wash blood and clots out of your nose.

3.     Soak cotton ball (real cotton, not synthetic) with Afrin spray, place it inside the nose and pinch the “meat” of your nose (not the bone); applying pressure to the “meat” for 5 minutes is the key.

4.     Apply Vaseline to the nose after the bleeding stops.

 

When do I go to the closest ER or Urgent Centers?

If your blood pressure is not coming down.

If you can’t stop the bleeding despite all the efforts.

When do I see an ENT doctor?

If the nose bleeds stop but keep coming back, schedule an appointment with you Ear, Nose and Throat doctor for possible cauterization. DON’T wait too long, we need to see the area of bleeding when it is recent and fresh. That will help guide our treatment towards the area of the most concern.


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