Your sinuses are small, air filled holes behind your cheekbones and forehead.
There are four pairs:
- Two behind your forehead
- Two either side the bridge of your nose
- Two behind your eyes
- Two behind your cheekbones
When you have a viral or bacterial infection the lining of your sinuses is liable to inflammation. Sinusitis causes you to have a high temperature, a painful and tender face, loss of taste and smell, tiredness, and a runny of blocked nose.
The common cold or flu is most likely to cause sinusitis, but there are other causes to this condition:
- Substances that could irritate your sinuses such as smoke or chemicals.
- Allergies such as asthma and Hay Fever.
- Having a low immune system.
- Facial injuries growths inside the nose, if mucus builds in narrowed nasal passages it can build to an sinus infection.
- Cystic Fibrosis
This condition is either classed at acute or chronic:
Acute - Develops quickly after a cold or flu and clears up within 12 weeks
Chronic - When the symptoms last for more than 12 weeks
Sinisitus: Am I suitable?
Anyone can get sinusitis.
Sinisitus: What's treatment like?
Sinusitis commonly clears up by itself and most people who get this condition do not have to see their GP. Although if your sinusitis proves stubborn and keeps on coming back then your GP may refer you to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist who would carry out tests to find out the cause.
Antibiotics - If the sinusitis's severe and hasn't cleared within a week, you may be prescribed antibiotics as one third of people with sinusitis will develop a bacterial infection.
Steroid sprays/drops - If you're diagnosed with chronic sinusitis sprays and drops can help to reduce the swelling.
Surgery - If previously mentioned treatments have not worked, functional endoscopic sinus surgery may be recommended by your GP. Usually the procedure is done under general anaesthetic, but it can be done under local anaesthetic.
If you have growths inside your nasal passages then they will be removed, if not, your surgeon will inflate a tiny ballon inside your nose to open up drainage passages from your sinuses. Sometimes the surgeon will opt for a self-dissolving implant that expands to prop the sinuses open and deliver a steroid drug directly to the sinus lining.
Sinisitus: What about after?
Usually a hospital stay isn't necessary and the most you'll have to take off work is three to four days.
Sinisitus: Are there any risks or side effects?
With very severe cases of sinusitis, antibiotics can usually control the infection from spreading to the bone. However in very rare cases, the infection can spread to the area around the eye, the bones, the bloody or the brain.
Risks associated with sinusitis surgery can be quite high, but they are rare. The floor of the brain is where your septum attaches to the roof of the nose, if this thin bony layer is fractured it can enable brain fluid to leak into the nose. Often if this occurs, it is spotted quickly and is repaired in the operating room. If this happens a short hospital stay is normally needed.
Damage to the eye or tissue surrounding the eye can occur which can lead to double vision or can change your tear ducts causing excessive tearing.
Your voice can change after the operation.