What is sinusitis?

Have you ever had a cold or allergy attack that wouldn’t go away? If so, there’s a good chance you actually had sinusitis. The symptoms of bacterial sinusitis often mimic those of colds or allergies. By performing a physical examination, Dr. Lieberman can diagnosis the condition.

Bacterial sinusitis is a problem that refers to an inflammation of the lining within the paranasal sinuses. It usually is preceded by a cold, allergy attack or irritation by environmental pollutants. Unlike a cold or allergy, bacterial sinusitis requires a physician’s diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to cure the infection and prevent future complications.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

  • Pain or pressure in the cheek area (maxillary sinuses)
  • Pain or pressure above and behind the eyes (frontal sinuses)
  • Pain or pressure between or behind the eyes (ethmoid sinuses)
  • Pain or pressure behind the eyes (sphenoid sinuses)
  • Nasal discharge, pain in upper teeth, nasal congestion, coughing, bad breath, etc.

Sinusitis can also be classified by duration: acute lasts for 4 weeks or less, sub–acute lasts 4-12 weeks, chronic lasts more than 12 weeks and recurrent, which consists of several acute infections within a year. Basically with recurrent infections, the sinuses never get back to normal between episodes.

How is sinusitis treated?

Sinusitis can be treated through courses of antibiotics, antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, etc. In cases of severe chronic sinusitis, your physician might prescribe an oral steroid.

When courses of antibiotics, etc. fail, functional endoscopic sinus surgery may be an alternative. The goal of the surgery is to improve the opening of the sinuses and reduce the blockage. Using an endoscope, your surgeon will enlarge the opening of the sinuses, remove any polyps and correct any defects (such as a deviated septum) that contribute to the nasal obstruction. This type of surgery is minimally invasive and is performed on an out-patient basis.

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