ENT Sinus Treatment in Phoenix, AZ
Sinusitis is one of the most common chronic illnesses, affecting approximately one in eight, or about 14 percent, of Americans every year. Sinusitis is a condition where the sinus cavities become swollen and inflamed. When they function properly, the sinus cavities are filled with nothing but air. However, mucus can back up in the sinus cavities, creating an ideal environment for infectious microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi to multiply and cause infection. Sinusitis can make sufferers feel congested and cause a sensation of facial fullness and pain. When residents of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, and the surrounding communities of Arizona need effective treatment for their sinusitis symptoms, they seek the expertise of board-certified ENT and facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Farhan Taghizadeh.
Sinusitis can be the result of several conditions, including:
- Allergic rhinitis, or swelling of the nasal mucus membrane
- The common cold
- Physical obstructions such as a deviated septum, which can shift nasal bones and cartilage into the nasal cavity
There are varying types of sinusitis, which are categorized according to the duration of symptoms. The types of sinusitis include:
- Acute – Acute sinusitis is characterized by a sudden onset of cold-like symptoms, which last no more than four weeks.
- Subacute – Subacute sinusitis is characterized by sinus inflammation and tenderness that lasts between four to eight weeks.
- Chronic – Chronic sinusitis is a condition characterized by nasal drainage and congestion that lasts for three months or longer.
- Recurrent – Recurrent sinusitis is a serious condition where frequent episodes of chronic sinusitis occur over the course of a single year.
Who Gets Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is a condition that affects people of all ages, including children. However, certain people are more susceptible to the condition, most specifically those who suffer from:
- Nasal mucous membrane swelling, usually due to a cold
- Small growths or polyps along the nasal lining
- Blocked or narrow drainage ducts
- Immune system weakness and deficiencies
- Autoimmune disorders and take immune-suppressing medications
Smoking and frequent infections are the most significant contributing factors of sinusitis in adults.
Factors that increase the risk of sinusitis in children include:
- Contact with other children
- Pacifier use
- Drinking from a bottle while in a horizontal or supine position
- Second-hand smoke
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis?
The primary symptoms that someone suffering from acute sinusitis may experience include:
- A cough and/or congestion
- Facial pain, pressure, and/or fullness localized in the cheeks or eye area
- A decreased sense of smell
- Thick and discolored nasal drainage
Additional symptoms someone suffering from acute sinusitis may experience include:
- Bad breath
- Oral pain
A combination of two or more of the above symptoms is a strong indication of acute sinusitis, especially if the individual has a thick, yellow or green discharge from the nose.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis is often difficult to diagnose and treat, but the symptoms must be present for several months or longer before a doctor can make a definitive diagnosis. Chronic sinusitis is characterized by the presence of one or more of the following symptoms:
- Facial fullness, pressure, and/or pain
- Discolored nasal discharge or postnasal drip
- Congestion, blockage, or obstruction of the nasal cavity
- Pus draining from the nasal cavity
Chronic sinusitis sufferers may also experience:
- Bad breath
- Oral pain
- Headache pain
How is Sinusitis Diagnosed?
Sinusitis is diagnosed using a three-step process. Dr. Taghizadeh will go over your medical history for evidence of previous sinus conditions. Then he will look inside your nose to examine your sinuses for signs of tenderness or swelling. Dr. Taghizadeh may also take a look at your teeth for signs of an inflamed paranasal sinus.
Lastly, Dr. Taghizadeh may perform one or more of the following laboratory tests to rule out other conditions uncover the underlying cause of your sinusitis:
- Allergy skin tests
- Blood work
- Imaging studies, which may include an X-ray and CT scan of your sinuses
- Nasal and sinus cultures
- Nasal endoscopy
How is Sinusitis Treated?
Sinusitis treatments vary according to the type of sinusitis and severity of the patient’s condition.
Dr. Taghizadeh usually treats acute sinusitis with a combination of decongestants such as Sudafed and vaporizer therapy. While over-the-counter nasal sprays and decongestants can relieve sinusitis symptoms, you should refrain from using them beyond the recommended duration, or you run the risk of actually worsening your initial nasal congestion symptoms. Acute sinusitis also responds well to antibiotics, and symptoms usually clear up within 10 days to two weeks.
Treating chronic sinusitis is much more complex than acute sinusitis. Addressing the underlying cause of sinusitis is usually the first step in treatment. Once the underlying cause has been identified, you can use warm compresses to alleviate the pain and discomfort often associated with blocked or obstructed sinuses and nasal cavities. You can also use saline nasal sprays or drops, but be careful to follow the recommended dosing and duration instructions. Dr. Taghizadeh may also prescribe steroids and/or antibiotics to reduce swelling and bacteria in the nasal cavity.
Warm air has been shown to provide relief from nasal congestion so a vaporizer or inhaling steam from a pot of boiling water may provide additional relief.
NOTE: Remove the pot from the stove prior to each steam therapy session.
Additional Treatment Options for Sinusitis
In order to reduce the frequency and intensity of sinusitis attacks, Dr. Taghizadeh works to uncover the underlying causes and triggers of the condition. Dr. Taghizadeh may also prescribe one or a combination of the following prescription and over-the-counter medications to decrease the duration and severity of your symptoms:
- Oral decongestants
- Oral corticosteroids
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays
Dr. Taghizadeh prescribes medication(s) for sinusitis according to the underlying cause and severity of the infection. When sinusitis symptoms fail to respond to other forms of treatment, steroids are often prescribed to reduce inflammation. Like all viral infections, viral forms of sinusitis do not respond to antibiotics. Antibiotics are only prescribed for bacterial forms of the infection. Antihistamines are used to alleviate sinusitis symptoms that are triggered by allergies, and anti-fungal medications are prescribed for cases of sinusitis that can be attributed to fungus. For individuals with weak or compromised immune systems, usually due to taking prescription immune system suppressants, immunoglobulins may be helpful.
Is Sinus Surgery Necessary?
Mucus is an essential bodily substance that is responsible various important functions throughout the body. Mucus adds moisture to the lining of the sinus walls, and millions of hair-like structures known as cilia are responsible for moving mucus throughout the sinus cavities. Allergies and other conditions can damage cilia and narrow the sinus cavities, which prevents mucus from reaching the opening. Blocked or obstructed sinus cavities often result in sinusitis symptoms. Antihistamines are effective at reducing allergic reaction symptoms and clearing the sinus cavities. However, when medication fails to provide adequate relief from persistent sinusitis symptoms, surgery is usually the next step in treatment. Structural obstructions, such as nasal growths or polyps, may make surgical intervention necessary to clear the sinus passageways.
Dr. Taghizadeh performs endoscopic sinus procedures under local or general anesthesia. Patients can resume their daily routine within several days or a week and expect a full recovery within four to six weeks.
A turbinectomy may also be performed to reduce chronic nasal swelling. This in-office procedure is performed using anesthetics similar to those used in dental surgeries.
Balloon sinuplasty is another in-office procedure used to alleviate sinusitis symptoms. This procedure enlarges narrow and inflamed sinus openings to promote drainage and allow patients to breathe freely. The procedure uses an approach similar to balloon angioplasty, where a balloon is used to open blocked coronary blood vessels.
What Happens if Sinusitis is Not Treated?
In rare instances, sinusitis can cause serious health complications and permanent damage if left untreated. Due to the close proximity of the sinuses to the brain, untreated cases of sinusitis have led to meningitis, bone infection, and brain abscesses, but these cases are rare. In most instances, sinusitis can cause extreme pain and discomfort when left untreated.
Sinus infections are troubling enough on their own, but they can also leave sufferers susceptible to other health conditions. If you’re a resident of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, or the surrounding areas, and you’re experiencing sinusitis symptoms, contact Arizona Facial Plastics, PC, today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Taghizadeh for treatment.