Characterized by long-lasting and stubborn symptoms of thick, yellow to greenish nasal discharge, postnasal drip, nasal stuffiness, facial pain and possibly swelling, chronic sinusitis can be a frustrating condition for both patients and physicians. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated seven million Americans suffer from these and other symptoms related to chronic sinusitis, giving it its position as one of the most prevalent health problems in the country.
When Treatment Fails
One of our patients had endured these symptoms, along with stopped up ears and throat irritation, 3-4 times a year for several years. Finally, his primary care doctor referred him to our practice for further evaluation. His symptoms were very typical of chronic sinusitis.
While the patient had been previously treated with topical nasal steroid sprays, several antihistamines, steroid injections, and numerous antibiotics, his symptoms were aggravated by weather and temperature changes and were only partially and temporarily alleviated. A nasal exam with endoscopy by our ENT physician and a CT scan in our office revealed the cause of the patient’s complaints and nasal congestion. He had an 80% nasal obstruction.
The CT scan confirmed a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis and showed severe pansinusitis, involving all of the paranasal sinuses, but mostly affecting the maxillary sinuses. After one additional round of antibiotics failed to provide relief, our doctor advised proceeding with sinus surgery, septoplasty and turbinate reduction using minimally invasive techniques, including the no-sinus-packing approach.
Important Post-op Follow-up
After undergoing the 90-minute procedure, the patient went home the same day to begin his recovery, which he describes as “great” and returned to work in just one week.
“I am breathing so much better already” the patient reported one week later at his first post-operative appointment, one of an estimated three visits following surgery during which the sinuses are cleaned and debris is removed from the surgical area. These post-operative debridements are critical to proper healing and lead to much less likely recurrence of sinus disease following surgery.
At his final post-op visit just one month after surgery, the patient’s sinus cavities appeared open, clear and healthy. As adjunct treatment and to maintain these successful surgical results, we recommended that the patient continue the use of nasal steroid spray and an over the counter antihistamine regularly, with instruction for adjustment as his allergic symptoms fluctuate. He will also follow-up regularly one to two times each year.
Seek Specialist Care when Symptoms Persist
Other symptoms of chronic sinusitis can include, pain, tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead, a reduced sense of smell and taste, ear pain, upper jaw, and tooth pain, cough, fatigue, and others. A patient could also have several bouts of acute sinusitis that can develop into chronic sinusitis. Patients should seek medical care for these symptoms and be referred to a specialist in otolaryngology when the symptoms persist and become chronic. CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat welcomes and treats patients of all ages with conditions affecting the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck.