You wake up and there’s an intense feeling of pressure in your forehead and near your eyes. Your nose feels stuffy and when you blow it, the discharge is cloudy or yellowish. Sinusitis is a fairly common problem, affecting about one in eight people in the US. While many people will have to deal with it at some point or another, other people are left facing the discomfort of sinusitis on a regular basis. If you are in that group, it might seem that there is no hope or help available, and that no matter what you try, from saline nasal rinses to prescription medications, nothing helps.
While some people do experience relief from medications, there are cases when a more intense treatment is the best solution. Depending on your circumstances, your doctor may recommend that you see a surgeon fo sinus surgery.
You Have Chronic Sinusitis
Typically, sinusitis can be divided into two broad types. Acute sinusitis typically strikes when a person has a cold or allergies and lasts for up to four weeks, maximum. It’s usually caused by a virus or bacteria. You can get relief from acute sinusitis by using saline sprays, taking antibiotics (if it’s caused by bacteria), and by taking pain relievers.
In contrast, chronic sinusitis tends to hang around for more than four weeks. It’s usually defined as lasting for more than 12 weeks. Some people do get some relief from using nasal sprays or from steroid sprays to treat it.
But, many cases of chronic sinusitis are a bit of a vicious cycle. Your are exposed to the bacteria or other infectious agent that causes the sinusitis. Your sinuses swell, which makes it difficult for them to fully drain. Some of the infected fluid remains trapped in the sinuses, triggering a new case of sinusitis or causing the current case to continue on.
In the case of chronic cases of sinusitis, a procedure such as balloon sinuplasty or another type of sinus surgery can help allieviate discomfort by opening the sinuses up. After the procedure, you will have better drainage from your sinuses, which will help infections clear more easily and end the cycle of infection-reinfection.
Another reason your surgeon might recommend sinus surgery is if you have recurrent sinus infections. A recurrent infection is slightly different from chronic sinusitis. If you have a chronic case, the condition is ongoing. In the case of recurrent infections, your sinus issues do clear up, at least temporarily. To be considered “recurrent,” you need to have at least four different infections over the course of a year.
As with chronic cases of sinusitis, your doctor might recommend trying medical therapies before surgery. If each case of sinusitis clears up quickly and without issue when you use steroid or saline nasal sprays, surgery is most likely not needed. But, surgery can be the best option if your recurrent infections don’t clear up quickly when you use medicine.
Your Nasal Passages are Blocked
In some instances, chronic or recurrent sinusitis isn’t to blame for a patient’s discomfort. Sinus surgery might also be helpful in treating people who have some sort of blockage in their airway or sinuses. For example, if you have a deviated septum, a procedure that corrects the position of your septum might also help improve the functioning of your sinuses. Having a very narrow passageway leading up to your sinuses can also be corrected with surgery. The procedure might also be recommended if you have very large turbinates in your nose or if you have nasal polyps that are interfering with your ability to breathe or otherwise causing discomfort.
You Have Sinus Problems and Don’t Like Your Nose’s Appearance
You might be unhappy with not only the way your nose looks, but also with the way it functions. In those cases, a procedure that combines sinus surgery and rhinoplasty can be a good solution to your concerns. The rhinoplasty component of the procedure will correct your nose’s appearance, making it smaller, larger, or reducing any bumps or other deformities. The sinus surgery component of the procedure will open up the sinus cavities and correct any problems you’ve been having with breathing or chronic sinusitis.
If your facial plastic surgeon agrees that combining surgeries is the best option for you, there are some things to be aware of. The surgery will take longer to perform compared to a rhinoplasty on its own or sinus surgery on its own. But, the combined procedure will take less time that performing each surgery separately. Recovery time is also shorter when you combine surgeries compared to when you perform them on their own.
Your sinuses don’t have to continue to interfere with your daily life or cause persistent discomfort. Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein at Hudson Valley Sinus Center specializes in nasal surgery, including sinus surgery and rhinoplasty. Whatever is bothering you about your nose, call 845-562-6673 to schedule a consultation and find out what you can do about your nose today.