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Johns Hopkins Health - Relief for Sinus Sufferers

Winter 2012
Issue No. 15

Relief for Sinus Sufferers

Date: January 12, 2012

man with tissue

Do you have frequent nasal congestion or problems with your sense of smell? For some people, it’s a periodic annoyance. For others, it’s a chronic problem.
Chronic sinusitis is defined as a condition that affects the nose for 12 weeks or longer, says Murugappan “Murray” Ramanathan Jr., M.D., a Johns Hopkins rhinologist.

“The lining of the nose becomes inflamed and nasal polyps can form,” he says, “which can cause secretions to get caught in the sinuses and sometimes become infected.”

Medical therapy is generally the first treatment option. If that doesn’t help, surgery may be the next step. Sinus surgery is performed endoscopically, using a thin tube with a tiny camera and instruments inserted through the nostrils. The procedure can reduce inflammation, repair structural problems and remove polyps, which can allow topical medications to better access the sinuses.

There is another endoscopic procedure that uses a balloon instead of instruments to dilate the opening of sinuses, but, Ramanathan says, “not all patients are candidates for this procedure, especially those with nasal polyps.”

Watch and listen to Johns Hopkins otolaryngologists in the seminar “Treatment Options for Sinus Relief.” Visit

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