The nose plays a key part in several of our bodily functions. It is crucial in enabling us to smell, and also has an important role in our respiratory cycle. Unfortunately, the nose and surrounding areas can be susceptible to infection and illness, which can seriously impact the quality of life.
Common problems people suffer with include chronic blockages, allergies or the feeling of having a cold. These can often be linked to our sinuses.
When we use the word “sinuses”, we are most often talking about the paranasal sinuses. These are little pockets, or air cavities, within the bones of our face, especially around our nose. These cavities are lined with a membrane which can become infected; this is known as sinusitis.
Sinusitis is a very common illness, and people who have recently been suffering from a cold or flu are particularly vulnerable to it.
Common symptoms of sinusitis include:
- swelling and tenderness in the areas around our nose such as our cheeks, eyes and forehead,
- a blocked or runny nose,
- high temperature,
- pressure inside the head, particularly in or around the nose.
The symptoms of sinusitis can also be caused by nasal polyps. These are small, soft lumps that can grow in our nose as a result of inflammation, causing our nose to become partially or fully blocked. Polyps are painless and mostly harmless, but it they continue to grow, they can affect our breathing and our sense of smell. Nasal polyps are associated with asthma, allergies and recurring infection.
In most cases, sinusitis will disappear on its own after two to three weeks, but if the symptoms last for longer there are various medications available which can help. Every now and then medication may not sufficiently deal with the sinusitis, and further intervention will be required. There is a special type of surgical technique called Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) which we can use to treat sinusitis.
If you have been suffering from the symptoms of sinusitis or nasal polyps, why not see me for a consultation and assessment? Many people I see tell me they've had the symptoms for a long time and have just been putting up with them. As a specialist nose and throat doctor, I will be able to offer you sound advice on the best and most effective course of treatment.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic and is usually a day case, meaning you will be able to return home on the same day. The surgery is performed using an endoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at one end. The endoscope is carefully placed into your nose, allowing me to see inside very clearly and to work to a high level of precision. During surgery, I can open up your sinuses and remove any polyps if needed.
When the endoscopic surgery is completed, I will apply a special dressing to your nose to prevent any bleeding. I always tell people to avoid blowing their nose as much as possible for the first few weeks after surgery. If you do need to blow, make sure that you do it very gently, one side at a time.
I will always recommend that you take at least two weeks off work to help with your recovery. If possible, you should avoid smoky environments that might cause irritation, and for your own comfort you may wish to avoid busy, crowded environments.
After the operation, it is normal for your nose to continue feeling blocked for several weeks. This is nothing to worry about. Over time, your nose will start to clear and you will begin to feel the full benefits of the sinus surgery.
At Circle, our Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Unit specialises in giving an accurate diagnosis for any medical conditions relating to the ear, throat and nose, followed by the appropriate non-surgical or surgical treatment. I work as part of a wider team of experts, each with our own sub-speciality, and together we will identify and treat whatever problems you may be having, making sure that you get the best possible treatment and the highest quality of care.
As a dedicated throat and nose doctor, I have spent years helping people achieve a better quality of life by providing treatment for the range of illnesses and injuries that can hold us back. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of sinusitis or nasal polyps, I will be delighted to set you on the path to full recovery.