If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, you’re probably well aware of the discomfort and misery it can bring with it. You may have been experiencing severe congestion, swelling and pain around your nose, forehead and eyes, thick discharge from your nose or a reduced sense of taste and smell for several months.
Back in the day, the last resort treatment for chronic sinusitis was traditional sinus surgery. Although sinus surgery could help many people get relief from their sinus symptoms, it often came at a price. The surgery itself was pretty invasive and involved making an opening into the sinus through the mouth or the face. It also involved some pretty serious risks, including blindness, bleeding and meningitis.
Fortunately, several alternatives to traditional sinus surgery exist today. If you’re looking for relief from your chronic sinus infection symptoms, your surgeon likely to recommend one or more of the following options.
Non-surgical Treatments for Sinusitis
Generally speaking, doctors prefer to take a conservative approach to treating sinusitis first. There’s no need to subject a person to a surgical procedure if they can get relief through non-surgical means.
Often, non-surgical treatments for chronic sinus infections focus on reducing the swelling and inflammation in the sinuses. One option is to rinse out the sinus cavities and nasal passages regularly with a saltwater (saline) solution. The saline helps to flush away any allergens or irritants that have collected in the sinuses. It can also help to moisturize the nasal cavity and sinuses, providing relief from discomfort.
Corticosteroids can also help to reduce sinus inflammation and discomfort. Depending on the severity of the sinusitis, the corticosteroid might be available in the form of a nasal spray, a pill or an injection.
Additionally, in some cases, it can be worth detecting and treating the source of the sinusitis. If your surgeon determines that a bacterial infection is responsible for your sinusitis, he is likely to prescribe a type of antibiotics to help clear up the infection. If allergies are behind your chronic sinusitis and are a persistent problem, your surgeon might recommend treatment with allergy shots.
Balloon Sinus Dilation
Balloon sinuplasty, or balloon sinus dilation, is a relatively new treatment option for chronic sinusitis. It’s often recommended as a treatment option for patients who haven’t had much success with non-surgical treatments.
The treatment process involves inserting a catheter and endoscope into the nasal passage. The catheter has a tiny balloon attached to one end. Once the end with the balloon on it reaches the sinus cavity, it’s inflated. The inflated balloon helps to reshape the cavity, essentially opening up the sinus. Because the sinus cavitiy is more open, mucous and other debris are able to drain from it easily.
Usually, balloon sinuplasty is performed as an in-office procedure. Your surgeon is likely to use sedation and a local anesthetic, but might perform the procedure with general anesthesia, in a surgical suite, if needed.
The majority of patients who have balloon sinus dilation see an improvement in their sinus symptoms.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Endoscopic sinus surgery is another considerably less invasive alternative to traditional sinus surgery. During the procedure, a surgeon inserts an endoscope (camera) into the nasal passages. Guided by the camera, the surgeon is able to remove the source of the blockage in the sinus cavities, such as nasal polyps or scar tissue.
Recovery time after an endoscopic sinus surgery is usually much shorter than after a traditional surgery, but might be longer than the recovery needed after a balloon sinuplasty. During the recovery period, it’s usually recommended that you avoid steroid nasal sprays, aspirin or NSAIDs and blowing your nose, at least for a week or two.
ABOUT DR. RUBINSTEIN
Dr. Rubinstein has nearly sixteen years of experience helping patients with sinus problems in the Hudson Valley. A board certified facial plastic surgeon and board certified otolaryngologist, he has extensive knowledge of laser procedures, facial plastic surgery, and nasal and sinus treatments, which allows him to improve aesthetics as well as functionality of the nose and facial features. Dr. Rubinstein received his board certifications through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. To get more information your treatment options for chronic sinusitis, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rubinstein at the Hudson Valley Sinus Center by calling 845-562-6673.