Not many in the general public are familiar with their sinuses. Sure, some know vaguely where their sinuses are and may complain about them during a cold, but not everyone knows the intricacies of these skull cavities. When you have recurrent infections, though, you almost become an expert on the anatomy of the sinuses in the head and face.
The sinuses serve several functions. One is to decrease the weight of the skull. Another is to help modulate your voice by providing what amounts to echo chambers. Unfortunately, these small openings above the inner portion of each eyebrow and below the inner corners of each eye can sometimes become blocked by mucus. Sinus surgery and balloon sinuplasty are minimally invasive ways to surgically repair the sinuses. It is used for a few chronic conditions.
Recurrent Sinus Infections
Recurrent sinus infections can be a nightmare. They are painful, sometimes hard to treat, and very inconvenient. Fortunately, sinus surgery and particularly balloon sinuplasty can help to reduce the amount of sinus infections you experience. The outlets for the sinuses are quite small, and through the use of surgery, these small holes can be expanded to allow for the drainage of mucus and infectious material.
This is also a minimally invasive surgery, and it allows the patient to recover more quickly from the procedure. Usually, it is a same day surgery that enables you to go home the same day, although you will need a ride home. The procedure is done under general anesthesia, and you will feel nothing during the surgery. Afterward, you may experience some discomfort, usually treated with over the counter pain medications.
Nasal tumors can be very difficult to treat. Since they are in a tricky place for surgery, it often takes a skilled ear, nose, and throat surgeon to successfully remove the tumors from the nasal cavity. In some cases, these tumors can be removed in a minimally invasive procedures, but in others it may require an open incision to fully remove the tumor from the nose or sinuses.
Some tumors of the nose can be cancerous and some can be benign. It is better to catch the tumor in the early stages to avoid the need to remove a great deal of tissue. When the tumor is cancerous, chemotherapy and radiation may be necessary after the surgery. In cases where it is considered benign, some surgeons may take a wait and see attitude as long as the tumor is not obstructing the airway. Rigorous follow up is necessary to ensure it doesn’t become enlarged.
Repair Blocked Tear Ducts
Blocked tear ducts is another problem with the nose that can cause pain and inconvenience. In the eyes, a duct connects the eye to the nose. This is why you often get a runny nose when you cry because the tears are draining into your nose as well as coming out of your eyes. For those with blocked tear ducts, the eye is unable to drain, causing pain.
Again, this can be a minimally invasive balloon sinuplasty surgery. The surgeon will use tools to navigate to the location of the tear ducts and use a specialized tool to open the blockage. You will be under general anesthesia for this procedure and will be able to go home the same day. In some cases, tear ducts can become blocked several times, meaning that you may need this procedure more than once. However, it is usually successful in relieving the pain and allowing the eye to drain appropriately.