Sinusitis is a condition that refers to an inflammation of the lining within the paranasal sinuses. Sinusitis can be classified by location:
- Maxillary, which causes pain or pressure in the cheek area;
- frontal, which causes pain or pressure above and behind the eyes;
- ethmoid, which causes pain or pressure between or behind the eyes; and
- sphenoid, which causes pain or pressure behind the eyes.
Sinusitis can also be classified by duration: acute lasts for four weeks or less, subacute lasts four to twelve weeks, chronic lasts more than twelve weeks, and recurrent, which consists of several acute attacks within a year.
Most acute cases of sinusitis are caused by an inflammation of the sinuses that eventually lead to a bacterial infection. With chronic sinusitis, the membranes of both the paranasal sinuses and the nose are thickened because they are constantly inflamed, possibly due to allergies, nasal polyps, or asthma.
Sinusitis can be treated through courses of antibiotics, decongestants, saline sprays, or in cases of severe chronic sinusitis, oral steroids. When pharmaceuticals fail, surgery may be an alternative. The goal of the surgery is to improve sinus drainage and reduce blockage. Thus, a surgeon will enlarge the opening of the sinuses, remove any polyps, and correct any defects that contribute to the nasal obstruction. While many people have fewer symptoms as a result of the surgery, many others experience a recurrence of their symptoms post-surgery.
Balloon sinuplasty is an advanced surgical procedure used to treat sinusitis and other related problems through minimally invasive techniques. This involves inserting a thin endoscope into the nose without disrupting the surrounding bone and tissue. A small balloon is then gently inflated to widen blocked passageways and allow for proper drainage of sinus fluid. Patients can benefit from less bleeding and shorter recovery times with balloon sinuplasty.