The Sinuses, in General
Sinus symptoms or sinus problems present themselves in things like facial pressure, congestion. You might be getting sick often, which could mean you’re taking other kinds of medication. Those kinds of things are symptoms of a sinus condition. In this video, you’ll learn about the sinuses, how they work, and what they need.
It sounds like a lot of the symptoms you’re complaining about are sinus problems. When you have facial pressure, congestion, you’re getting sick all the time; you’re needing a lot of antibiotics from your doctor; sometimes you’re getting oral steroids.
That sounds like a sinus condition.
Sinuses are the rooms around the face.
A lot of people mix the term sinus with allergy. That’s our job to figure out if you have an allergy problem or a sinus problem.
So sinuses are these bony rooms around the face that have to ventilate with the outside world. You can’t have a bony room of air in your face that can’t breathe, or else you’ll be miserable. In fact, that’s why patients get pressure and complaints like that because their sinuses aren’t ventilating well with the outside world and they feel that pressure of the outside world on their face.
Your sinuses are lined with a very thin, special type of skin that has little hairs on there that beat mucus into these natural ventilation pathways. So while these pathways look really large on the computer screen here, they’re actually very small. They’re about a millimeter or so.
These pathways are also lined with that same skin. So if you get a cold, a viral infection or an allergy exacerbation, you get inflammation, and these pathways can become obstructed, and that’s what sets you up for a sinus infection.
Once the pathway is obstructed, the sinus can’t ventilate and breathe, and you end up getting fluid, inflammation, and then you get bacteria that grow, and that creates puss. And the pus will drain out of these natural pathways. Then you blow it out your nose, cough it up, maybe it leads to bronchitis or something. So that’s acute sinusitis.
Then normally you see your doctor, and she gives you the antibiotic, sometimes oral steroids to treat that. And then hopefully that infection will go away. Again, that’s acute sinusitis. And some people get that infection over and over again. Even if they have an allergy and even if they’re taking a topical — Flonase or steroids — and doing all the things you should do to control your allergy, despite that treatment, you’re still getting sick.
The next problem people can have is called chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is different. It’s when the tissues of the sinuses are inflamed — like a rash on your arm or something.
When the tissues are inflamed, they swell and then these little villi, or special hairs that move the mucus around can’t work. They’re floating in this swollen tissue. And so that tissue becomes non-functional, and the sinus can no longer work properly.
This is a medical problem. But the problem is, the treatments are usually topical steroids. And, when you put Flonase or other things in your nose — irrigations that have steroid — when all these partitions are up, the medicine cannot get into the sinus. So, if you have a rash on your left leg and you put cream on your right leg, does it help the rash on your left leg? It doesn’t. Because you’re not getting the medicine where it needs to go.
Even though it’s a medical problem, we usually have to do some sort of sinus procedure, to help improve the ventilation and access to the sinus so that you can manage it longterm, medically. And that’s where sinus procedures come into play.
Based on your CAT Scan, which is the x-ray we did to look at your sinuses, it shows that you have inflammation of some of your sinuses, and that confirms that you actually have chronic sinus inflammation — chronic sinusitis.
You combine that with your complaints and the fact that you’re getting sick over and over again, and that’s why I think you’d benefit from a sinus procedure.