Santa Rosa Head & Neck Surgery
Sinusitis / Deviated Septum
There are a variety of problems that can affect the nose and sinuses, ranging from infections and allergies to physical injury and deformities. One of the most common complaints patients bring to Santa Rosa Head and Neck (SRHN) physicians is sinus pain. When the air-filled sinuses become blocked, they fill with mucus and can become infected, causing pressure, stuffiness and headache. Frequently treated conditions affecting the nose and/or sinuses include short- and long-term sinus infections (acute and chronic sinusitis), stuffy nose (nasal obstruction), allergies, nasal polyps, deviated septum and cosmetic deformities. In children, enlarged adenoids may block the back of the nasal passages, leading to sinus infections and trouble breathing through the nose. Although most nasal/sinus problems can be treated non-invasively with medications, there are instances where surgery is recommended and the most common procedures are listed below:
- Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Sinus Surgery: When medical treatments for chronic sinusitis have failed to cure a patient’s symptoms, our doctors may recommend minimally invasive endoscopic sinus surgery. This surgical procedure utilizes fiber-optic scopes for visualization inside the nasal passages. The natural drainage pathways of the sinuses are widened to allow removal of infected mucous and polyps within the sinuses. All of the work is done through the nose without any facial incisions. The surgery relieves sinus headaches and congestion, improves nasal breathing, removes polyps if present, and often enhances the sense of smell. Computer-guided navigation is used intra-operatively for complex cases to minimize the risk to surrounding normal structures.
- Septoplasty: The nasal “septum” is the internal wall that separates the left and right nasal passages. A deviation of the septum can contribute to nasal obstruction and is easily repaired via an outpatient surgery called septoplasty. During a septoplasty, the surgeon will straighten deformed or twisted cartilage inside the nasal septum to improve the nasal air passages. The procedure is performed via incisions inside the nose leaving no external scars. The appearance of the nose is not altered. A septoplasty is often performed in conjunction with other nasal procedures.
- Turbinate Reduction Surgery: The inferior turbinates are bones present on the inside of each nasal passage. The turbinate bones are covered by soft tissue which can become inflamed from chronic infection or allergies. Enlarged inferior turbinates are a common cause of chronic nasal congestion. Initial treatment is often directed at the underlying problem causing the inflammation. If medications fail to adequately reduce the turbinate swelling, then surgical reduction can be performed. There are various ways to reduce the size of the turbinates, from shrinking the soft tissue with electrical energy to partial resection of the turbinate bone. Each has advantages and disadvantages over the other choices. The best approach for each patient would be discussed at the time of the office visit.
- Rhinoplasty: One of the most common plastic surgery procedures, rhinoplasty is performed to reshape, reduce, or augment a person’s nose. The procedure may be performed for cosmetic or functional (difficulty breathing) reasons. The goals of the surgery depend upon each individual patient’s anatomy and desires. Some common maneuvers are to remove a hump, straighten the nasal bones, alter nostril width, or change the angle between the nose and upper lip. The surgery can be performed via a “closed” or “open” approach. The closed approach is used when only limited access is necessary. All incisions are made inside the nose for the closed approach. The open approach is employed when more extensive exposure of the bone/cartilage nasal framework is required and involves making a small, well-camouflaged incision at the junction of the nose and upper lip. Rhinoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia and lasts a few hours.
- Balloon Sinuplasty: A patient diagnosed with sinusitis may have this cutting-edge, minimally invasive procedure performed in order to clear passage through the sinuses. This procedure makes use of state-of-the-art medical technology and enables Santa Rosa Head and Neck surgeons to clear the nasal pathway and restore normal drainage without having to remove tissue.