A very common condition that results from chronic blockage of sinus drainage pathways. We have frontal sinuses (located at the forehead), maxillary sinuses (at our cheeks), ethmoid sinuses (between our nose and eyes) and a sphenoid sinus (located at the deep inner part of the nose). It is estimated that 35 million Americans are affected by sinus infections each year causing missed work and interfering with social and family activities. Sinusitis is chronic when symptoms occur for 12 or more weeks.
SYMPTOMS: Facial pressure and pain along the sinuses, feeling of a “heavy head”, decreased sense of smell, nasal congestion, thick or purulent nasal drainage, fatigue, poor sleep, nasal blockage, postnasal drip, sore throat, cough, bad breath, ear pressure, ear pain, fever, facial swelling, painful upper teeth.
CAUSES: When the drainage pathways for our sinuses get blocked we develop swelling and inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. This results in a “petri dish” environment for bacteria to grow in our sinus cavities. The blockage may occur due to bone, scar tissue, allergies, swelling from allergies, inflammation from colds, polyps, prior surgery and inherent anatomical problems such as a deviated septum.
DIAGNOSIS: Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed from a patient’s history and a good physical exam of the nose and sinus passages. Nasal Endoscopy is a diagnostic tool used to get a clear and through visualization of the inner nose and structures. A CT Scan is also very helpful in analyzing the sinus structures in detail to determine the cause of the sinusitis.
TREATMENT: Medical treatment is the first approach and includes treating underlying conditions that cause blockage like allergies and nasal polyps. Allergy medications, antibiotics and oral steroids can all be used to help resolve sinusitis symptoms. Saline rinses, Netti pots and Medicated Sinus Rinses are very helpful in treatment regimens. If medical management does not work, then procedures and surgeries can be considered. Options include Sinus Surgery, Balloon Sinuplasty, Septoplasty and Turbinoplasty. New research is increasingly showing the potential for Biologic Therapy to be a potent new weapon for us to use in treating sinusitis.
BIOLOGIC THERAPIES FOR CHRONIC SINUSITIS: Using Biologic Therapies is an exciting and very promising new approach for treating some types of Chronic Sinusitis. While many patients have sinus problems due to anatomical problems that block their sinuses that need to be addressed with procedures or surgeries, we are learning through research that some patients have sinus problems that are due to recurrent inflammation. This is the same type of inflammation that causes allergy symptoms, dermatitis and asthma. Biologic Therapy utilizes medications that can either decrease or even block the inflammation process from happening. With decreased inflammation sinus passages are more likely to stay open and resist infections. Dr Jafri works directly with Allergists who have experience with these medications to provide a dynamic team approach for his patients with Chronic Sinusitis.