How do I know if I need sinus surgery?

(bright music) – The sinuses are air passages
or air pockets in our face. They include the frontal sinuses which lie behind the forehead, the maxillary sinuses, what we classically consider our sinuses, behind the cheeks on either side, the ethmoid sinuses, which
lie between the eyes, and finally a set of sinuses in the back of the nose
called the sphenoid sinuses. These all drain into the nasal
cavity and all produce mucus. The most common causes of sinus problems include nasal allergies, a deviated septum or a crooked septum, and in some cases low-grade
chronic sinusitis, which is a combination of infection and possibly allergic inflammation. – Symptoms of sinus infection
include stuffy nose, discolored mucus from the
nose, maybe yellow-green mucus, diminished sense of smell. If you have severe headaches, sinus surgery is not likely to help. Most of the time, severe
headaches are caused by migraine headache or
other headache conditions. – After a thorough evaluation and if a diagnosis of chronic
sinusitis has been made, your surgeon will offer what’s called maximal medical treatment. That may include a combination
of extended antibiotics, oral steroid treatment, sinus irrigations, and topical nasal steroid sprays. After these have been completed, a CAT scan will be obtained. A CAT scan will help us to show whether there is persistent sinus disease and whether surgical
intervention would be part of the therapy offered to you. Here’s an example of a
normal CAT scan of the sinus. The maxillary or cheek sinuses are clear, and there’s no blockage
in the sinus opening. The sinuses are clear as
well between the eyes. This is a CAT scan revealing sinus disease or chronic sinusitis. The sinuses between the eyes are blocked and have gray tissue or polyps obstructing the sinus passages. The maxillary sinuses or cheek
sinuses are also involved and have gray tissue or
swollen tissue within them. During endoscopic sinus surgery, the surgeon places the
endoscope in the nasal cavity, removing small pieces of
swollen tissue, polyps, and small pieces of bone to
open up the sinus passages. – CAT scan abnormalities of
the sinuses are really common. In fact, many people have
CAT scan abnormalities of their sinuses, and most of those don’t
require sinus surgery. Your doctor can’t just
look at your CAT scan and know that you need sinus surgery. Your doctor needs to talk with
you, evaluate your symptoms, and consider a course of medical therapy before deciding on sinus surgery. (elegant music)


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