Sinusitis (also known as rhinosinusitis) is caused by inflammation of the lining of the nasal passages and sinuses. Sometimes, sinusitis may be worsened by fungal or bacterial infection. In most cases, sinusitis is caused by a variety of noninfectious causes, resulting in acute or chronic inflammation of the nose and sinuses. Therefore, if you have sinusitis, you should see a specialist who can properly diagnose your condition and develop an individualized treatment plan for you.
The symptoms of sinusitis in adults may include:
- Nasal congestion or obstruction
- General fatigue
- Loss of smell and taste
- Runny nose with thick, discolored drainage
- Pain or pressure in face and sinuses
Your ENT doctor may recommend a prescription or over-the-counter medication to help the symptoms due to inflammation or infection and to treat the underlying cause of your sinusitis. Nasal saline sprays or irrigation, nasal steroid sprays, oral steroids, and antibiotics may all be used to effectively reduce and control your nasal and sinus inflammation and improve your symptoms.
Nasal decongestant sprays (like Afrin® or Neo-Synephrine® spray) can be used to treat nasal stuffiness in acute sinusitis (as with viral infections like a cold or flu), but these treatments are not recommended in chronic sinusitis. They should not be used longer than three days. With long-term use of nasal decongestant sprays, the nose can become dependent on them, causing the turbinates to enlarge and nasal stuffiness to worsen, requiring turbinate surgery.
Your ENT specialist may recommend a nasal/sinus irrigation for your sinusitis.
With recent advances in technology, ENT surgeons can now perform endoscopic sinus surgery entirely through the nose, without face or mouth incisions. Alternately, your ENT specialist may recommend sinus surgery using a balloon catheter to help manage your chronic sinusitis. Although extremely uncommon, when minimally invasive surgery is not an option, your ENT surgeon may need to perform sinus surgery via an external approach.
During this procedure, our ENT doctor inserts a thin, flexible or rigid endoscope with a tiny camera attached to a high definition monitor to visually inspect the inside of your sinuses to help determine the cause of your sinusitis.
Images obtained from computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help your doctor see details of your sinuses and nasal passages. This test is more likely to be used in the case of chronic sinusitis that hasn’t responded to more conservative medical treatments, and can help your specialist determine the extent of the disease and decide if you will need surgery.
Nasal and Sinus Cultures
If you have discolored mucus as a symptom of chronic sinusitis, your ENT specialist may recommend taking a culture (mucous or tissue sample) from your nasal area or sinuses to further assess your condition and to see if you also have a secondary bacterial infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics. Generally, this is mostly done for patients with chronic sinusitis who have been on multiple antibiotics in the past. These patients tend to be resistant to a number of common oral antibiotics.
A culture provides information to the ENT specialist regarding the most effective antibiotic for the offending microbe. If your doctor suspects you have a viral upper respiratory infection (such as a cold or the flu), it is unlikely that he or she will recommend a culture or antibiotic.
If your ENT specialist thinks that allergies may exacerbate the inflammation due to your chronic sinusitis, they may order an allergy skin test. This test may help determine the environmental allergens that are causing your allergies.
Why Choose UHealth?
Ranked No. 9 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The ranking reflects the team’s dedication to excellence in research patient care and outcomes. Surgeons, audiologists, biomedical engineers, speech pathologists, researchers, and psychologists collaborate with many research programs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to deliver the best possible multidisciplinary care to pediatric and adult ear, nose, and throat patients.
Highly specialized rhinology doctors. The experts at University of Miami Health are here to help you breathe easier, smell better, and rest better with an accurate diagnosis and leading edge treatments in a compassionate setting. Our fellowship-trained providers specialize in the nasal airway, and our rhinology specialists have completed specialized training in nasal and sinus disorders. They have dedicated their clinical and research careers to caring for nasal and sinus disorders.
Our academic health center provides you with more treatment options. Our ENT specialists are experts in the field of rhinology. As part of an academic health center, we are proud to offer breakthrough treatments not available to other facilities in South Florida. We also offer our patients early access to clinical trials and new medical and procedural treatments. We provide comprehensive care for a wide array of rhinologic conditions, backed by expertise, research, and education.
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