Chicago Nasal & Sinus Center is a private medical practice devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of nasal and sinus disorders. These conditions may include chronic nasal congestion, recurring or lingering sinus infections, sinus pressure headaches, allergies, snoring and sleep apnea.
Nasal Congestion or Obstruction
Sudden onset of nasal congestion may be due to a cold or viral illness, an allergy attack, or exposure to some inhaled irritant; gradual worsening of nasal breathing over time may indicate a chronic allergic or inflammatory condition, formation of nasal polyps, or a sinus condition. A long history of nasal obstruction, especially following an incident of trauma, may be due to anatomic obstruction such as a deviated nasal septum or abnormally enlarged turbinates. Treatment may be as simple as a decongestant or antihistamine, or a medicated nasal spray; polyps, septal deviation, and turbinate enlargement not responsive to medical therapy may require surgery.
Sinusitis is defined as inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, the air-filled spaces within the bones of the face and forehead. Impaired airflow in and out of the sinuses can lead to headaches and sinus pressure; impaired drainage of mucus from the sinuses can lead to infections.
Recurrent Acute Sinusitis refers to repeated cold-like illnesses that linger for several weeks at a time and which require repeated courses of antibiotics. Common symptoms of acute sinusitis include nasal congestion, facial pain and pressure, discolored nasal discharge, pain in the teeth, ear pressure and fatigue. Acute sinus infections develop secondary to obstruction of the sinus drainage pathways, failure of the “self-cleaning mechanism” of the sinuses, or some impairment of immune function.
Chronic sinusitis refers to symptoms which linger for more than 3 months despite medical therapy. Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis include nasal congestion, headaches, facial pain, pressure behind the eyes, weather-related headaches, and thick post-nasal drainage. The development of chronic sinusitis is thought to include environmental factors such as exposure to airborne irritants or dry inspired air, physiologic factors such as allergies or asthma, and anatomic factors such as narrowing of the openings into the sinuses within the nose.
Barosinusitis refers refers to abnormal pressure developing within the sinuses due to impaired air exchange. With weather changes or cabin pressurization when flying, positive pressure develops in the sinus. When barometric pressure drops or the airplane descends, the pressure in the sinuses remains elevated and this causes pain. In extreme cases, especially with rapid pressure changes, the sinus mucosa is stripped from the adjacent bone resulting in severe pain and hematoma formation.
The following activities and conditions place individuals at particular risk for barosinusitis:
- Scuba and sport diving
- Sky diving
- Flying in military/high-performance aircraft
- URTI or sinusitis in persons exposed to pressure changes
- Poorly controlled allergies or anatomic abnormalities of the nose and paranasal sinuses
Isolated barosinusitis in a previously healthy individual is most commonly due to flying or diving with a cold or acute sinus infection. These patients generally do quite well with conservative treatment. Recurrent barosinusitis suggests that there is anatomic obstruction of the paranasal sinuses and is more likely to require some intervention to re-establish proper sinus ventilation.
By limiting the scope of our practice, Chicago Nasal & Sinus Center is able to offer patients an unparalleled level of service, utilizing state-of-the art technology and innovative treatments while maintaining a thoughtful and caring approach. We are committed to forming strong patient-physician relationships, encouraging patients to be active participants in their care.