Rhinosinusitis, or sinusitis, is a condition involving inflammation in one or more of the paranasal sinuses. Acute sinusitis is inflammation usually caused by an infection lasting less than 4 weeks. Acute sinusitis usually resolves with medical therapy including antibiotics. Chronic sinusitis is sinonasal inflammation lasting for more than 12 weeks and can be cause by multiple factors.
The following symptoms are associated with rhinosinusitis:
• Nasal congestion
• Nasal discharge
• Postnasal drip
• Facial pressure or pain
• Decreased sense of smell
Recurrent sinusitis and chronic sinusitis can cause long-term symptoms that can negatively impact a person’s quality of life. Chronic inflammation of the mucosal lining in the nose and sinuses may lead to the formation of nasal polyps in severe cases. Surgery can be effective in eliminating these symptoms if adequate medical therapy fails.
The causes of chronic rhinosinusitis are not completely understood. This has hampered development of long-lasting definitive treatments. The goals of the Johns Hopkins Sinus Center Team include providing accurate diagnosis and the most effective medical and surgical treatments possible to individuals.
Diagnosing rhinosinusitis will include the following:
- Your doctor will ask for a complete medical history and will perform a thorough physical examination.
- Nasal endoscopy is performed on all patients in the clinic using a small lighted scope with a camera. This painless procedure allows our sinus doctors to examine the inside of the nose and sinuses.
- Sinus computed tomography (CT) scans are obtained for most patients. These provide a detailed image of the inside of the sinuses.
- In some cases laboratory tests are obtained for patients with:
• Suspected allergies
• Cystic fibrosis
• Immune deficiencies
• Mucociliary disorders
• Other rare sinonasal diseases
- Medical therapy including sinonasal irrigation, antibiotics and nasal steroids are often combined with other novel therapies to improve or eliminate sinonasal symptoms.
- Surgery is indicated for patients with persistent sinusitis despite adequate medical therapy and severe nasal polyps caused by chronic inflammation.