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.