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Nasal/Sinus Irrigation


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Saline irrigation of the nasal cavity is an ancient technique based on early homeopathic and yogic practices. Doctors have recognized the benefits of nasal irrigation and have begun to study it to see how well it works and when it should be used. While many questions remain, these studies have concluded that irrigations are beneficial, safe, and well tolerated by patients suffering from sinusitis.

If you have a viral upper respiratory infection (URI) or acute (occurring suddenly) sinusitis, your body produces chemicals that can cause inflammation (swelling) of your nose and sinuses. An irrigation can help wash these chemicals out of your nose and sinuses.

Irrigations help to clear the nose of mucus and also help to reduce inflammation. This results from helping the nose to remove small particles, bacteria, and viruses that can cause allergies and inflammation. In addition, irrigations remove chemicals that the body produces as a response to the allergens or infection that promote inflammation.

If you have chronic (ongoing) sinusitis and have undergone surgery, your rhinologist may recommend you use irrigations post-operatively to help heal the sinus cavities and wash away debris and inflammatory chemicals that promote chronic inflammation. Sometimes, antibiotics or steroids are added to the irrigations to eliminate secondary bacterial infection and inflammation.

Who is a Candidate?

Your ENT specialist may recommend a nasal/sinus irrigation to open you your nasal passages if you have allergies, sinusitis (sinus infection), or a viral URI.

What to Expect

The goal of irrigation is to cleanse the entire nose. However, not all irrigation techniques can achieve this. How your head is positioned during nasal irrigation will have an impact on how well it works. Your doctor will give you instructions on the best way to irrigate your nose.

Most experts suggest using concentrations of saline that are the same as the salt concentration in the body (known as “isotonic”). While some patients prefer higher concentrations, these may also lead to increased nasal congestion and swelling due to the high salt content. It may also affect the small hairs (cilia) that exist throughout the lining of the sinuses and nose, and move the mucus towards the throat. The irrigation takes the place of the non-functioning cilia.

Be sure to speak with your ENT doctor if you are considering nasal/sinus irrigation to make sure it is an appropriate treatment for your condition and that it is administered correctly.

Why Choose UHealth?

Ranked No. 28 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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