Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus, but bacterial infections cause most serious cases. Other factors that block your sinuses can also contribute, including allergic rhinitis, a deviated septum, the common cold, and nasal polyps, which are tiny growths in your nose. You may be more prone to sinusitis if you have a compromised immune system, allergies, or asthma. Young kids and older adults also are at greater risk for sinusitis.
Sinusitis causes inflammation or infection in your sinuses, leading to a variety of symptoms.
Acute sinusitis, which lasts less than 4 weeks, can cause:
Chronic sinusitis lasts for 12 weeks or longer, causing similar symptoms — potentially without a fever — that may be more vague than acute symptoms. Symptoms may also occur episodically throughout the year.
Sinusitis is diagnosed through a comprehensive exam that explores medical history and symptoms. Dr. Hennessee also may press the cheekbones and forehead to check for tenderness and look for other signs, such as discolored discharge, as well as any structural irregularities. In some cases additional tests are ordered, such as a computer tomography (CT) scan or X-ray.
Acute sinusitis often is treated with decongestants, good hydration, nasal irrigation, and steaming of the nasal passages. If you have an acute bacterial infection, antibiotics are prescribed. Chronic sinusitis is relieved with corticosteroid nasal spray and saline nasal irrigation. If other steps fail to help, Dr. Hennessee may recommend surgery.
Also called sinuplasty, balloon sinus surgery is a minimally invasive procedure in which a catheter with a balloon attached is inserted into the sinuses to reopen them and restore normal drainage. Unlike other sinus surgeries, it requires only a brief recovery period and brings only minimal pain and bleeding. Dr. Hennessee performs this procedure in both inpatient and outpatient settings.