Do you have:
- Blocked nose?
- Thick or yellow nasal discharge?
- Pressure in the forehead or cheeks (or sinus headache)?
- Loss of smell?
… If so you might have sinusitis (infection of the sinuses which are air filled spaces next to the nose). Most cases of sinusitis are due to common cold and settle down on their own within 5 to 10 days. If sinusitis (sinus infection) symptoms fail to settle, or worsen, or there is pain or high fever you may need to see the doctor or ENT specialist.
Sinusitis is usually treated with medication which may include:
- Nasal irrigation – cleans out the nose like having a shower
- Nasal sprays such as steroid or decongestant spray
- Medicine to break up mucous (mucolytics)
- Antibiotics (we are selective about antibiotics which are not always needed for sinusitis)
When sinusitis keeps recurring or does not get better, you may require nasal endoscopy which examines the sinus drainage in the nose with a telescope. This is done in the clinic with a numbing spray and is usually painless. CT scan may sometimes be needed to examine parts which nasal endoscopy cannot visualize. In some situations sinus surgery is needed. A number of options are available including:
- Sinus washout. Can be done in the clinic under local anaesthetic.
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Minimally invasive technique using a telescope in the nose to open and clean the sinuses. Done under general anaesthetic.
- Balloon sinuplasty. Uses a special balloon to widen the sinus drainage tract.
Image-guided surgery is sometimes used to improve safety in sinus surgery, particularly in patients who have undergone a previous sinus operation (revision surgery). Dr. Lau is fully trained and experienced in these techniques.