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If you suffer from chronic sinusitis—infections or conditions that cause stuffiness in your nose and make it harder to breathe—you may be surprised if your doctor recommends nose surgery. You’re not alone. Sinus surgery doctors perform more than 200,000 nasal surgeries each year in the United States.
How does sinus surgery treat chronic sinusitis, and what can you expect? North Carolina Specialty Hospital’s ENT Surgery Department explains.
Nose surgery is often recommended if sinusitis lasts three months or longer despite treatment. With chronic sinusitis, sinuses are swollen and inflamed, making it hard to breathe. Causes of chronic sinusitis include:
Because the sinuses are swollen or obstructed, it’s hard for them to drain infected mucus, resulting in chronic infection. Allergies can exacerbate the condition, while post-nasal drip from sinusitis can trigger coughing and aggravate asthma symptoms.
What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?
You may experience one or more of these symptoms:
When these symptoms last longer than 12 weeks despite medical treatment, nasal surgery is often the next step.
What is nasal surgery, and how will it help?
Nasal or sinus surgery is performed by an ENT (ear-nose-throat) specialist to remove infected tissue, growths, or bone in the nasal cavity to help cure the infection. The surgery’s aim is to make drainage easier so that mucus doesn’t back up and become a breeding ground that causes infection.
Your doctor may use an endoscope (a small flexible tube with lights on the end) to see into your nose and sinus cavities to diagnose the reason for your chronic sinusitis. They may also order a CT scan or MRI to look for structural causes.
Once the cause is diagnosed, your North Carolina Specialty Hospital ENT will determine which of the following surgeries will best meet your situation’s needs:
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS): This is the most common surgery. By removing bone, infected tissue, or polyps, the surgery widens the drainage passages between your nose and sinus to allow mucus to get out.
Balloon Sinuplasty: In this least-invasive nose surgery, a small balloon is inflated inside the sinus cavity to widen it.
Septoplasty: This surgery corrects deformities of the nasal septum, opening up blocked or reduced air passageways.
Turbinectomy: This in-office procedure uses radio frequency to reduce the size of turbinates, small structures in the nose that cleanse the air but can grow in size and block air passage.
Functional Rhinoplasty: In addition to reshaping the structure and appearance of the nose, rhinoplasty can also correct some breathing problems that are caused by chronic sinusitis.
Surgeries are designed to be minimally invasive and are done with local anesthesia or under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Depending on the procedure, some patients may have minimal to moderate pain or pressure lasting up to a week afterward. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication or antibiotics to prevent infection. However, in general, recovery is fairly quick.
Chronic Sinusitis Sufferers Trust North Carolina Specialty Hospital—The Area’s ENT Expert
Although chronic sinusitis may not be life-threatening, it does keep you from optimum health and feeling your best. It could also lead to complications from asthma and infections if left untreated. So, if you’re suffering from chronic sinusitis, you owe it to yourself to see an ENT at North Carolina Specialty Hospital and find out if nasal surgery will help.
We’ve been helping North Carolinians stay healthy since 1926, bringing the latest advancements and technologies right here to you—including our excellent ENT Department. You can read more about our department here. Then, request an appointment with one of our sinus surgery doctors here. Just click on the doctor to make your appointment.
We look forward to seeing you and helping you clear up your chronic sinus infection soon.
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