Sinus issues, nasal congestion, scratchy throats, and seasonal allergies. For some people, the discomfort and symptoms are often enough that they will pay a visit to their primary physician. However, when the problem becomes chronic or recurring, general physicians will generally refer their patients to sinus doctors, better known as ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialists.
The ENT specialists are also known as otolaryngologists have surgical and medical advanced training to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions, that range from basic allergies and sinusitis to more complex cancers, deformities, and trauma of the facial areas, neck, and head.
Some of the methods that sinus doctors use to diagnose chronic sinusitis issues include:
Looking Into The Sinuses
This procedure involves inserting a flexible and thin tube that contains a fiber-optic light into the nose which allows the surgeon to view the inside part of the patient’s nose.
Images that are taken using an MRI or CT show the details of the nasal area and sinuses. These tests are used to detect physical obstructions or deep inflammation which is harder to find using a device such as an endoscope.
If an ENT suspects that your allergies may be the trigger for your sinusitis, they usually recommend a type of allergy-skin test. The test is quick and safe and can assist in finding out about one or more allergens that might be contributing to the flare-ups in your nasal passages.
Cultures From Your Sinus And Nasal Discharge (Samples)
Cultures are usually not necessary to diagnose chronic sinusitis. However, when your condition is getting worse or the treatment you are on is not working, your ENT may collect samples to assist in determining the cause, like fungi or bacteria.
ENT doctors also closely work with:
• Audiologists in order to treat or diagnose hearing loss
• Oncologists to treat neck and head cancers
• Neurosurgeons when removing a skull-based tumor
• Plastic surgeons if reconstructive surgery becomes necessary for the neck or face
• Speech pathologists in order to manage swallowing and speech disorders
• Sleep medicine specialists when surgically correcting issues with the tongue, palate, and nose that might be causing snoring and/or sleep apnea.
The treatments that are frequently used for conditions such as chronic sinusitis include:
• Nasal corticosteroids that come in the form of a nasal spray
• Saline nasal irrigation
• Injected or oral corticosteroids
• Aspirin desensitization treatments for those that have reactions when taking aspirin