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Nasal & Sinus Diseases/Conditions We Treat

Sinus Infection

The sinuses are air-filled structures within the bones of the face. They are thought to have multiple roles, including acting as a cushion to protect the brain from injury, humidifying and warming the air you breathe in, and contributing to your voice quality.

Sinusitis - or sinus infection - is inflammation in one or more of these sinuses. Symptoms of sinus infection include: 

  • Stuffy nose (nasal obstruction/congestion) 
  • Decreased smell or taste 
  • Postnasal drip (thick or discolored nasal discharge/drainage) 

The most common cause of sinus infection is blockage of the sinus openings due to inflammation. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and nasal allergies are frequent causes of inflammation. Sinus infection diagnosis is made based on symptoms you have, findings from the examination, and imaging/additional testing performed.  Sinus infections lasting less than four weeks is known as acute sinusitis and can be treated with medical therapy, including antibiotics. Sustained sinus infection lasting more than 12 weeks is called chronic sinusitis and may require medical or surgical treatment.
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Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are small, soft, grapelike structures that can form and block the sinuses. Symptoms of polyps are similar to sinus infections - stuffy nose, sinus pressure and pain, decreased smell and taste, postnasal drip - and are associated with chronic sinusitis (sinus infection lasting more than 12 weeks). Nasal and sinus issues that trigger long-term irritation have an increased risk of developing nasal polyps. 
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Allergic Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies, Hay Fever)

Allergic rhinitis - commonly called seasonal allergies or nasal allergies, or hay fever - is caused by your body reacting hyperactively to the environment. Common culprits in the environment include hay, weeds, grass and tree pollen, molds, dust mites, and animal dander. Common nasal symptoms include stuffy nose (nasal congestion or blockage), runny nose, and sneezing. Diagnosis is made based on symptoms you have and skin or blood allergy testing. Treatment options include avoidance/environmental control measures, medications, and allergy shots. There are also minimally invasive procedure options that are individually tailored depending on the symptoms you are having.
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Deviated Septum  

The nose is a central and prominent feature of the face. The septum is the wall in the middle of the nose that divides it into left and right sides. A deviated septum is when is a deformity or deviation of the septum that can impact the functioning of the nose, contributing to difficulty breathing, noisy breathing, snoring, decreased smell or taste, epistaxis (nosebleeds), or recurrent sinus infections. A deviated septum may be hereditary or the result of multiple other factors, such as trauma, surgery, mass or growth, aging, or certain medical conditions. Diagnosing a deviated septum is made based on symptoms and test results. Surgery is used to correct a deviated septum. 
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Loss of Smell or Taste 

Our abilities to smell and taste are intricately linked and critically important to our daily lives. They alert us to hazardous odors like smoke and allow us to detect rotten and spoiled foods. In addition, they factor substantially into our quality of life. 

The part of the nose that senses smell is high up in the roof of the nose. Special cells here receive smells and send a signal to the brain via the smell nerve. Issues with our smell sense frequently impair taste. Common causes include physical obstructions, for example from swelling-related inflammation, anatomic deformities like a deviated septum, or masses or growths like nasal polyps. Other health problems, such as neurodegenerative diseases, also can cause smell loss. 

Diagnosis is made based on an exam and special smell testing. Treatments are varied and are dependent on the cause of smell loss. It is important to seek medical attention to determine the cause; some can be immediately treated, and in some cases, treatment may be more effective if initiated soon after the onset of loss. 
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Epistaxis (Nosebleeds) 

Epistaxis - more commonly known as a nosebleed - is caused by bursting of a blood vessel in the nose. Epistaxis rarely is life-threatening and often stops on its own. There are many causes of epistaxis; it can occur spontaneously or as the result of trauma, medications, tumors, surgery, or environmental factors. Epistaxis and nosebleeds have no single treatment, and care is tailored to each individual patient. Common treatment options include direct pressure and nasal sprays and minimally invasive in-office procedures like packing and cautery. Embolization or surgery, which can be done in a minimally invasive way, may be used on severe cases. 
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Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak  

Your brain is surrounded by a "waterbed" filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). A hole or tear in the lining of this can result in a leak of this fluid. A common symptom is constant nasal dripping of this fluid. Causes are broadly classified into two categories, one is spontaneous and the other is due to injury of the bone separating the brain and nose, related to for example trauma, surgery, or tumors. Diagnosis is made based on symptoms, test results, and special laboratory and imaging workup. Treatment options include both medications and surgical repair depending on the underlying cause. Successful treatment requires experience and often multidisciplinary collaboration with other specialties, such as Neurosurgery and Ophthalmology.  
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Sinus/Nasal Tumors 

Tumors are rare in the nose and sinuses and be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The more common benign lesions are papillomatous (inverted and squamous papilloma), fibro-osseous (bone-based, including osteoma and fibrous dysplasia), vascular (from a blood vessel, such as juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma), and neurogenic (from a nerve, such as schwannoma or neurofibroma). Malignant tumors include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, melanoma, olfactory neuroblastoma/esthesioneuroblastoma Sarcoma, and lymphoma. Each of these tumors vary widely in appearance and presenting symptoms. Diagnosis is made by symptoms, examination, and imaging. The treatment is complex and typically requires multidisciplinary collaboration with Otolaryngology (ENT), Radiation Oncology/Medical OncologyNeurosurgery, and others. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and recommendations vary depending on the tumor. 
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Thyroid Eye Disease 

Thyroid eye disease typically is associated with Graves' disease, which involves an overactive thyroid gland. In thyroid eye disease, there is swelling of the tissue in the orbit, creating bulging of the eyes. Symptoms of thyroid eye disease including eye pain, dry and itchy eyes, double vision, and vision loss. Our providers collaborate with our Ophthalmology colleagues at UI Health to surgical manage these patients. The minimally invasive "endoscopic" approach provides a safe and effective way to reduce pressure on the eye and restore it to a more natural position, without the use of external incisions.
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