Sinus infections are a common problem in Topeka and across the U.S. About 37 million Americans experience sinusitis, a chronic sinus infection that lasts eight weeks or longer. Many of these patients undergo surgery to help relieve symptoms, but there are other solutions for people with sinus problems in Kansas.
Surgery or Not Surgery, that is the Question
Sinusitis is an inflammation and infection of the sinuses that produces symptoms similar to the common cold. These include congestion, runny nose, sore throat, postnasal drip, loss of smell and taste, fever, fatigue, facial pain and pressure and bad breath. Sinusitis can negatively impact your quality of life.
There are many possible causes of sinusitis. Colds and allergies, nasal polyps, facial trauma, disorders of the immune system, physical abnormalities such as a deviated septum and benign tumors are most common. Medications are often ineffective in the battle against sinusitis, leaving many patients with severe cases no option other than surgery. Traditional sinus surgery is invasive and often requires a long recovery period, so patients are likely to be interested in any non-surgical options when available.
A team of researchers from the University of Cincinnati has recently completed a clinical study that involved treating over 60 chronic sinusitis patients with a regimen of combined oral and topical corticosteroids. The patients treated had severe cases that were accompanied by nasal polyps, growths in the nose and sinuses that make breathing difficult and can lead to a loss of smell.
“These patients with the most severe symptoms and the large polyps are the ones for whom many doctors may say, ‘You need sinus surgery,’ rather than struggling through presumably ineffective medical therapy,” said Ahmad R. Sedaghat, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the UC College of Medicine and an author of the study.
Participants in the study were given a regimen consisting of a short-course oral corticosteroid taper and topical intranasal corticosteroid irrigations. Half of the participants experienced relief from their symptoms so well that sinus surgery wasn’t needed. While this still left some patients needing a surgical procedure, the study does demonstrate that a significant number of patients with a combination of severe chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps were able to benefit from a combination regimen of systemic and topical intranasal corticosteroids and avoid surgery. Dr. Sedghat said, “These patients’ disease is the worst of the worst,” Sedaghat said. “With this regimen, we alleviated their symptoms, helped them avoid surgery and improved their quality of life.”
If you are experiencing symptoms of chronic sinusitis and looking for a treatment solution, make an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist in Topeka. You may have options beyond sinus surgery.