Sinus Infections and Sinus Surgery

Sinus InfectionWhat Is A Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)?

Inside your nose, there is a series of connected spaces that drain mucus into the nasal cavity. When these spaces swell they can become blocked and infected. Causes of a sinus infection include; the common cold, allergic rhinitis, or a  deviated septum. Symptoms may include, facial pain and pressure, headaches, green or yellow nasal discharge, severe nasal congestion, and fatigue. Sinusitis will usually go away within a few days with rest, hydration and Vitamin C. However, when your symptoms last more than one week or suddenly worsen, chances are you have a bacterial sinus infection and it is time to see your doctor for antibiotics.

Is A Deviated Septum or Nasal Congestion The Same As Sinusitis?

No. But having a deviated nasal septum or nasal congestion can both cause your nose to become more congested and make you more likely to get sinus infections. Every nasal septum is a little crooked but when they are severely deviated enough to block your breathing or plug your sinuses then they are termed a “deviated nasal septum”. You can have nasal congestion from allergies, generalized swelling of your nasal tissue or a common cold.

If I Have A Headache, Do I Have A Sinus Infection?

Most headaches are unrelated to the sinuses. Although, sinus infections can cause headaches. Sinusitis headaches are usually accompanied by facial congestion, fatigue, and discolored nasal discharge. There are situations where the only sign of a sinus infection can be a headache. In these situations, a sinus CAT scan (detailed X-rays of the sinuses) may be needed to look for obstruction or inflammation of the sinuses.

How Do I Treat My Sinus Infection?

For the first few days you can hydrate, get plenty of rest, avoid caffeine and alcohol, rinse your nose with saline (Neti pot), and take Vitamin C. If your symptoms continue for greater than one week or suddenly your headaches worsen or your nasal discharge becomes thicker and more discolored, you most likely have a bacterial sinus infection requiring antibiotics. Your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic that targets the most likely causes of your sinusitis. Your physician may also prescribe a topical or oral steroid to help speed the decrease of inflammation inside your sinuses. An otolaryngologist has the highest amount of training inside the nose and has endoscopes to actually look inside your nose at the sinuses.

Result of No Sinus Infection

When Do I Need Surgery?

Acute sinusitis is when you have a sinus infection that lasts less than one month. Chronic sinusitis is when you are having a constant sinus infection that doesn’t go away with antibiotics and steroids. Either of these can significantly decrease your quality of life. Having multiple episodes of acute sinusitis per year or having chronic sinusitis that has failed medical treatment are both good reasons to consider sinus surgery. Decreased quality of life would include missing school or work, suffering frequently or through long periods with sinusitis symptoms, depression or constant fatigue.

Preparation For Sinus Surgery

You will meet with Dr. Mourad where he usually spends an hour going over everything related to your surgery. He will evaluate and make sure that he can specifically tailor a custom care plan to your exact needs. During the consultation, Dr. Mourad will determine the exact nature of your complaints and the exact causes. He may prescribe medications that will assist in your complaints. Once a tailored plan is made, Dr. Mourad and his staff will take you through all the necessary information needed to make sure that your surgery happens without issue. We take care of the details so that you can have the most enjoyable experience.

Dr. Mourad views treating his patients to be nothing short of a privilege and an honor and enjoys taking the time to get to know his patients and fully understand their issues. Dr. Mourad’s office provides a boutique experience that takes you out of the mindset of being at the doctor’s office. It is a warm, comfortable environment, providing a bespoke experience.

What Is Sinus Surgery?

The spaces inside of your nose have tiny openings and channels that connect to each other and to both sides of the nose. Sinus surgery widens the channels and removes most of the walls of these spaces which prevents your sinuses from obstructing and allows them to drain more freely. Having more open spaces prevents the pressure from building up in your nose and decreases the frequency and severity of your sinus infections. Sinus surgery also allows saline rinses and topical medications to better access the open areas inside of your sinuses.

Dr. Mourad with Sinus Endoscope
Consultation Chair and Sinus Tools

What Are The Types Of Sinus Surgery?

The main ways to open your sinuses are Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) and Balloon Sinuplasty. In revisions surgery or if the sinuses next to your eyes or brain are involved then you may also need Image Guidance Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)- This type of sinus surgery is performed using a high-powered camera on the end of an optically lighted tube. The surgeon can magnify the contents of your nose onto a large video monitor in great detail. Micro-instruments are used to open sinuses and remove infected bone and tissue. This is generally done under general anesthesia so you are completely comfortable and relaxed during the procedure. Balloon Sinuplasty- A wire guide is placed into the larger sinuses and a balloon is advanced into the sinus opening. The balloon is expanded with water and the sinus opening is enlarged. This can be used in 3 of the 4 sinuses but does not remove infected sinus tissue. Balloon sinuplasty is not appropriate for patients with nasal polyps or ethmoid sinus disease. Image Guidance Surgery- This is a 3-dimensional visualization system that uses your CAT scan to track instruments inside of your nose and sinuses. The guidance provides an additional tool to locate where you are inside of the nasal cavity. It can be used with Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery or some types of Balloon Sinuplasty. It is most appropriately used for revision surgeries or with the frontal, lateral ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses which are adjacent to the brain, eyes and major head nerves and vessels.

After Surgery and Recovery

Depending on your work, Dr. Mourad typically recommends taking a minimum of 3 days off before returning to work. He also discourages his patients from any heavy lifting. If you wear glasses, you may require some alterations if applicable. Dr. Mourad will provide you with pain medications, ointments, nasal sprays, all to help maximize your results. Dr. Mourad will then see you in visitations two weeks later, and then one month after that. Dr. Mourad enjoys the continued visitation of his patients and will see them in follow up for many years thereafter.

Will Insurance Pay For My Sinus Surgery?

Almost all insurances will consider sinus and breathing disorders as functional surgery that is covered by insurance. Our office will check your benefits and let you know what they are before you come into the office so there are no surprises. We will submit your paperwork and obtain approvals for your procedure. Dr. Moustafa Mourad has highly trained in sinus surgery as well as rhinoplasty, broken noses and valve repair. If you have sinus problems please feel free to give us a call so we can help.

Meet Dr. Moustafa Mourad, MD, FACS

Moustafa Mourad, MD, FACS is board-certified in head and neck surgery and highly-trained in cosmetic plastic surgery and facial reconstruction. Dr. Mourad is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He treats many conditions, both cosmetic and complex, that affect the head, neck and entire facial area. Learn More »

Select Relevant Publications

Moubayed S.P., Mourad M., Urken M.L. What Are the Optimal Monitoring Techniques in Head and Neck Microvascular Reconstruction?. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2016; 78:241-244. Link to Article.

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