What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, is an inflammation of the sinus lining generally caused by bacterial, viral, or structural issues of the nose. When this occurs, mucus doesn’t drain properly. Instead, the result is a stuffy nose and a buildup of mucus around the eyes and face.Sinusitis symptoms, including congestion, headaches, fever, and even dental pain, make it difficult to go about your daily activities. For nearly 30 million adults in the US, and many children, sinusitis is chronic. At AAENT, located in Annapolis, Maryland, our providers use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and treatments to remedy chronic sinusitis.
What are the different types of sinusitis?
There are two main types of sinusitis:
- Acute sinusitis, which lasts less than four weeks, and is typically triggered by a viral infection or allergies.
- Chronic sinusitis lasts between 4-12 weeks, or even longer, and is likely to be associated with structural issues, such as a deviated septum or polyps.
What are the most common symptoms of a sinus infection?
Symptoms typically include one or more of the following:
- Facial pain, pressure
- Pain in the upper jaw or teeth
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Excessive yellow or green mucus discharge from the nose
- Inability to smell or taste
- Sore throat
- Coughing at night
How does AAENT diagnose sinusitis?
Our providers always begin by taking a medical history and detailed account of each patient’s symptoms, followed by a physical examination. Chronic nasal congestion (sinusitis) is evaluated with the aid of a 3D CT scan, nasal endoscopy, and cultures, when necessary.
How does AAENT treat sinusitis?
Standard, first-line treatments for sinus infections include: antibiotics, decongestants, pain relievers, saline irrigations, topical corticosteroids, steroid irrigations, and oral steroids. However, for those who suffer chronic sinus infections, more aggressive therapy is recommended. Dr. Meek offers the most advanced options that provide long-term relief, such as Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) is a surgical approach to treating chronic sinusitis. FESS is performed with the use of an endoscope, which is a tube with a camera and light at the end, as well as specialized tools that can fit through the endoscope. During a FESS procedure, tissue can be removed from the nasal and sinus passages, cultures of infected secretions can be obtained, a deviated septum can be repaired, and/or the sinus passages can be widened. FESS has been an effective way to treat sinusitis for several decades and also improves the ability to manage sinusitis in the long term.
Another alternative treatment is balloon sinuplasty, a minimally-invasive procedure in which a flexible balloon is inserted into the sinus cavity via a catheter and inflated to enlarge and restructure the sinus opening to improve blocked drainage. This procedure is safe and can provide long-lasting effects.