If you’re one of the 35 million people each year who develop sinusitis—an infection or inflammation of the sinuses’ mucous membranes, and one of the most common health complaints in America—you know that throbbing pain behind your nose, cheeks and forehead. Otolaryngologists, doctors who specialize in ear, nose and throat diagnosis and treatment, offer you several ways to breathe better and avoid recurrent infections.
With access to more than 140 ear, nose and throat specialists in Sutter’s Northern California network, you’ll receive prompt, individualized guidance about easy treatments to reduce pain and swelling, resolve blockages and encourage draining.
If you have had multiple infections within a year, you and your doctor might discuss a CT scan to determine whether surgery is a good choice. ENT surgeons use minimally invasive sinus surgery to remove bone, tissue or polyps, or to correct a deviated septum, to enlarge your sinus openings and facilitate draining so you can breathe easy again. Other minimally invasive surgery techniques include balloon sinuplasty, steriod-enuting stents and radiofrequencing. Balloon sinuplasty removes buildup and relives symptoms without cutting or removing the bone or tissue. Steroid-eluting stents are small devices placed in newly-cleared sinuses which deliver relieving medications directly in the sinuses and keep the passages from closing again after surgery. Radiofrequencing is often used to reduce the size of the turbinates (small structures inside the nose that clean and humidify air) and thus allow improved airflow through the nostrils.