Feeling The Pressure?
Intense sinus pressure and pain could be a sign of sinusitis. Sinuses are 4 pairs of hollow spaces around the nose and cheeks. Mucosa lines the sinus tissues. Mucosa moisturizes the nose and prevents infection. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses. About 11% of adults in the US experience some form of sinusitis yearly. When someone has chronic sinusitis, a doctor may recommend endoscopic sinus surgery, such as balloon sinuplasty.
Dealing with chronic sinusitis
Inflammed sinuses prevent mucus from draining. This creates a space for bacterial infections. Sinusitis could range from acute to chronic. Symptoms range from pain and tenderness, nasal discharge, reduced smell, headache, and fever. While some cases can be treated with medication, chronic cases need surgery. To perform the surgery, doctors use an endoscope, a snake-like device with a high-powered camera attached. Doctors will perform one of 3 methods to clear the sinuses.
1. All about the endoscope
Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeons use functional endoscopic sinus surgery or FESS as the standard procedure for sinusitis. The surgeon passes the endoscope through the nose for a clear picture of the sinuses. Then, small tools pass through the endoscope. Now, the doctor can remove blockages, tissue, and even bone. This gives the affected sinus the ventilation needed to function effectively. FESS is minimally invasive and most patients can go home the same day. The procedure has an almost 90% success rate but can have a recovery time of up to 3 weeks.
2. Blowing sinusitis out of the water
Who knew a balloon could be so effective? To treat chronic sinusitis, ENT surgeons now prefer a procedure called a balloon sinuplasty. The procedure is fast and minimally invasive. Surgeons insert an endoscope to assess the sinuses. Then a small balloon is passed through the endoscope. Once in position, the surgeon inflates the balloon. This clears the sinuses and shifts the sinus by placing pressure on the walls. From there, the surgeon uses a small device to wash out debris and bacteria. Balloon sinuplasty has shown exceptional results, recovery, and a decreased reoccurrence of sinusitis.
3. Clearer images mean better results
As technology evolves, so has the ability to improve endoscopic procedures. Image-guided sinus surgery uses CT scans to give surgeons a 3-dimensional image. From there, surgeons have an even more accurate view of the sinuses. Sinus passages are a complex labyrinth, with a high possibility for damage. Image guidance means reduced surgical complications and faster recovery.
A clear path to better sinuses
If sinus symptoms are a pain, consult an ENT. From there, the doctor will assess and advise on the best course of action. If the doctor decides on surgery, expect one of these 3 procedures. Rest assured, each procedure is quick, safe, and will bring much-needed sinus relief.