When medical treatments fail to relieve sinus congestion and swelling, you might consider surgery. While many sinus problems cannot be cured with an operation, these procedures can resolve symptoms and improve your quality of life by reducing inflammation and ensuring nasal spray medications can be used more successfully.
Who can Benefit From Sinus Surgery?
Sinus inflammation and pain can often be relieved by treating the underlying cause. For instance, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have a bacterial infection. In addition, allergy-related congestion can be treated with antihistamines and other medication, as well as with allergy shots.
You may want to consider surgery if you have chronic sinus problems that recur frequently, last for months, or are worsened by structural problems in your nose. We provide comprehensive medical and surgical treatment for everything from acute and chronic sinusitis for children and adults, to nasal polyps, to sinus cancer.
Which Conditions can be Relieved With Sinus Surgery?
Many sinus surgeries address the following issues:
- Sinusitis, including pediatric sinusitis: Often caused by allergies or colds, sinusitis occurs when the lining of the sinuses (the hollow spaces around the nose) becomes swollen and painful. When sinusitis lasts longer than 12 weeks it is considered chronic. Endoscopic surgery may be a treatment option for chronic sinusitis if medical therapy is not effective.
- Rhinosinusitis: Rhinosinusitis is when the lining of the sinuses and lining of the nasal passages (nose) become inflamed. It is considered acute when it lasts less than four weeks and chronic when it lasts more than 12 weeks.
- Fungal rhinosinusitis is caused by a fungal infection of the paranasal sinuses. There are several types, including fungal ball, allergic fungal sinusitis and invasive fungal sinusitis.
- Refractory rhinosinusitis, also called drug-resistant rhinosinusitis, is when medical therapy fails to improve rhinosinusitis symptoms.
- Nasal polyps: These tiny polyps, or growths, are noncancerous. They do, however, obstruct the sinuses, which can contribute to sinusitis or rhinosinusitis. Sinonasal polyposis is when a person has multiple nasal polyps.
- Deviated septum: When the bony structure that divides the nose is off-center and restricts breathing in one nostril, it is called a deviated septum.
- Enlarged nasal turbinates, or turbinate hypertrophy: When turbinates, which are structures inside the nose, become inflamed they can obstruct breathing.
- Sinus tumors, including all forms of sinus cancer: Whether or not they are cancerous, sinus tumors may require surgery.
- Aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD), also known as aspirin-induced asthma, is a chronic condition that consists of asthma, recurrent sinus disease with nasal polyps, and a sensitivity to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Often, people with AERD have chronic sinus infections and do not respond to standard asthma treatments. AERD can also cause you to lose your sense of smell.
- Eye and brain problems: Endoscopic sinus surgery is also used to reach and fix problems in the eyes and brain, including the following:
- Excessive eye tearing
- Blocked tear ducts
- Bulging eyes due to Graves' disease
- Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks, which occur when the tissue around the brain is torn and spinal fluid leaks out
- Encephaloceles, a rare birth defect that causes the brain to protrude through openings in the skull, such as through the nose
- Growths or injuries affecting the optic nerve at the back of the eye
Rush Excellence in Sinus Surgery
- Comprehensive care: Because sinus problems are often related to other conditions, our physicians partner with specialists in allergy and immunology, pulmonology, gastroenterology, infectious diseases and rheumatology, as needed, to provide integrated care for our patients.
- Convenience for your busy schedule: Most sinus surgeries at Rush are performed minimally invasively, and patients typically go home the same day. We offer evening and same-day visits, and we see patients at multiple locations in Chicago and the suburbs.
- Leading-edge treatments: From novel topical and biologic therapies to drug-eluting stents and balloon procedures, you'll have access to a range of innovative options, including clinical trials. Rush is the only academic health system in the region offering ClariFix cryotherapy, a minimally invasive, in-office treatment for adults with chronic rhinitis.
- Expedited second opinions: If you're looking for a second opinion, we can help — after an initial diagnosis, or if your symptoms haven't improved after prior treatment. We will provide you with a second opinion, within one to three business days, about whether you should have sinus surgery.
- When it's more than just your sinuses: If you are suffering from a combination of symptoms, including persistent sinus pain and pressure, breathing problems, sleep disturbances and/or coughing, we can see you in the Rush Sinus, Allergy and Asthma Center.