For patients who are suffering from chronic congestion, impaired breathing, difficulty sleeping, and other common sinus complaints, it’s natural to want to start treatment right away and end the discomfort. Unfortunately, most common treatments for sinus problems just treat the symptoms and ignore the underlying cause. Without solving the fundamental problem, the symptoms are guaranteed to come back again and again. Before treatment can be successful, it’s vital to get a correct diagnosis so the symptoms can be permanently removed.
Diagnosis of Sinuses
With over a decade of intensive training and more than 15 years of experience as an ENT specializing in allergic & sinus disorders, Dr. Rubinstein has the experience needed to identify the root cause of your sinus problems. His dual board certifications with both the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and fellow status in the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, make him expertly qualified to deal with complex issues like blockages that may require reconstructive work as well as simpler cases of congestion or allergies.
When you meet with Dr. Rubinstein, he’ll begin by listening to a complete list of your symptoms as well as taking a full medical history. Then he’ll examine you to check for inflammation, blockages, nasal polyps, and other potential issues. While a simple visual examination is enough in many cases, other patients may require an endoscope to allow access to hard-to-reach spots like the sinus cavities.
In some cases, follow-up tests may be necessary after the initial examination. Some patients may need a CT scan to look for blockages or inflammation in the sinuses, and patients suffering from allergic reactions will likely require blood or skin tests to pinpoint individual allergens before treatment can begin.
Once Dr. Rubinstein has identified the cause of your symptoms, you’ll be able to discuss treatments. Dr. Rubinstein will carefully go over the potential treatments so that you understand your options. Finally, depending on the problem, you may be prescribed medication or antibiotics, and you’ll be able to schedule any necessary procedures to correct the issue.
Many sinus problems have similar symptoms, most commonly involving chronic congestion that can lead to trouble breathing, difficulty in sleeping soundly, and even an impaired sense of smell or taste. Although this sign of sinus trouble is quite common across patients, there are a number of different underlying causes that Dr. Rubinstein can check for.
Among the most common causes of chronic congestion is sinus infection, or sinusitis. Although it normally presents with the same symptoms as a common cold, sinusitis can also cause painful pressure or sinus headaches and lasts for much longer than a cold. It is caused by a bacterial or viral infection that causes excess mucus production and inflammation along the walls of the sinuses. Dr. Rubinstein will prescribe medications including decongestants as well as antibiotics if the infection is bacterial. If necessary, endoscopic (usually with balloon dilation) sinus surgery can be performed to open up the airways and remove infected tissue in order to alleviate discomfort and allow proper access for air and medication to heal the infection.
Polyps are fleshy, globular sacs that form along the linings of the nose and sinus cavities, where they can close off passages and make it harder to breathe. They can be diagnosed either by a simple visual inspection of the nasal passages or an endoscopic investigation of the sinus cavities. If you are diagnosed with polyps, Dr. Rubinstein may recommend a steroid spray to reduce their size or endoscopic surgery to remove them entirely. Polyps in the nose are usually benign and usually brought on by allergies. Because they tend to grow back over time, Dr. Rubinstein only will remove the polyps if they are creating symptoms. If the polyps looks suspicious for neoplasm, Dr. Rubinstein will recommend removal even for asymptomatic patients.
If your sinus problems are seasonal or otherwise appear to be allergy-related, Dr. Rubinstein may recommend a skin or blood test to determine the responsible allergen. Once your allergy has been correctly diagnosed, you may be prescribed antihistamines and a nasal steroid to deal with the symptoms, or Dr. Rubinstein may recommend a course of immunotherapy as a longer-term solution.
In some cases, the problem behind congestion, nosebleeds, and other sinus problems is a physical blockage such as a enlarged turbinates, deviated septum or nasal valve stenosis. After diagnosing the problem through an examination or imaging, Dr. Rubinstein may recommend surgical correction to fix the problem.