Do You Have Chronic Sinusitis?
If you are among the millions of chronic sinusitis sufferers in the United States, Dr. Zemplenyi will be happy to see you for an evaluation to help alleviate your problems. As a board certified Otolaryngologist (Ear Nose Throat (ENT) doctor) as well as a facial plastic surgeon Dr. Zemplenyi offers a wide range of solutions for your nasal and sinus problems.
What Are the Sinuses?
Not fully formed until about the age of 13, the sinuses are air-filled cavities situated in the facial bones. Often, when a patient is diagnosed with a sinus infection, it is in either the ethmoid or maxillary sinus cavities. There are, in fact four sets of sinuses:
- Maxillary – behind each cheek
- Frontal – above each eye
- Ethmoid – on either side of the bridge of the nose
- Sphenoid – located behind the frontal sinus cavities
These air-filled spaces are lined with mucous membranes and they contain only a small number bacteria. In healthy sinuses, mucus drains readily out into the nose and air enters and circulates freely. When the sinus openings become blocked during a virus infection preventing drainage and air ventilation, an unhealthy environment develops that supports growth of bacteria.
What is Sinusitis?
As defined by the National Institute of Health, sinusitis is an inflammation of sinuses that occurs with a viral, bacterial or fungal infection.
Sinusitis is considered to be acute if the symptoms last up to four weeks. Should symptoms continue for four weeks to 12 weeks the infection is considered as sub-acute. When symptoms last for more than three months, the diagnosis of chronic sinusitis is made.
What Causes Sinusitis?
Dr. Zemplenyi, the sinus specialist in Bellevue, explains that sinusitis occurs when:
- The cilia (small nasal hairs) do not function properly. The cilia functions to move mucus out of your nasal cavity. Occasionally, the cilia are affected by a medical condition and the mucus is not removed efficiently, resulting in sinusitis.
- Excessive mucus build up from colds or allergies can block the sinus openings, forming a breeding ground for germs.
- The sinus openings are blocked by a deviated septum, nasal bone spur or nasal polyps block the sinuses from draining properly, creating a breeding ground for infection.
What are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?
Acute, sub-acute and chronic sinusitis have identical symptoms, with each lasting progressively longer. The typical symptoms for sinusitis are:
- Loss of smell
- Bad breath
- Cough that may be worse at night, post nasal drip and sore throat
- General fatigue
- Headache – pressure, pain above the teeth (often mistaken for toothache), eye pain, tenderness about the face
- Congestion and nasal discharge
Children often exhibit sinusitis with the following symptoms:
- Worsening cold after showing signs of improvement
- At least three days of dark nasal discharge, accompanied by high fever
- Any nasal discharge that lasts more than 10 days
Depending on the clinical situation Dr. Zemplenyi will first treat sinusitis with four to eight weeks of antibiotics, saline irrigations and nasal steroid sprays. If symptoms continue and abnormalities are documented on CT scan imaging and fiber-optic nasal endoscopy, Dr. Zemplenyi may recommend Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) to remove the blockage and reduce the occurrence of sinusitis. This outpatient procedure is performed under anesthesia at the licensed surgical center in the Bel-Red Center for Aesthetic Surgery. You are likely to start feeling better in just a few days following this outpatient surgical procedure.