Nose and Sinus Disorders in India
Our nose is important to our health. It is an organ of smell and a main passageway for air into and out of the lungs. The nose warms, moistens, and cleans the air before it enters the lungs. Nose also contains the nerve cells that help our sense of smell. When there is a problem with our nose, the whole body can suffer. For example, the stuffy nose of common cold can make it hard for us to breathe, sleep, or get comfortable. Nose and sinus disorders afflict millions of people, causing pain, fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties and loss of smell, among other symptoms.
The bones of the face around the nose contain hollow spaces called as paranasal sinuses. There are four groups of paranasal sinuses: the maxillary, ethmoid, frontal, and sphenoid sinuses. Sinuses helps in reducing the weight of the facial bones and skull while maintaining bone strength and shape. The air-filled spaces of the nose and sinuses also add resonance to our voice.
Because of its prominent position, the nose is vulnerable to injury, including fractures. Bacterial nasal infections, nosebleeds, objects inserted in the nose, and polyps also can affect the nose. The mucous membrane of the nose may become inflamed (rhinitis). This inflammation may spread to the lining of the sinuses (rhinosinusitis).
Below are some of the most common signs and symptoms for Nose and Sinus disorders: –
- Allergic Rhinitis : – an inflammation of the membranes lining the nose
- Sinusitis : – Sinusitis is often a chronic (ongoing) disease that includes the symptoms of nasal obstruction nasal drainage, decreased sense of smell, facial pressure, and frequent sinus infections. Allergies and related respiratory problems such as asthma can also be associated with chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis may or may not be associated with Polyp.
- Nasal fractures: – Are also known as broken nose.
- Inverting papilloma: – Benign tumours that form inside the nose.
- Meningoencephalocele: – when the lining of brain and/or brain tissue protrude through an opening in the skull
- Cerebrospinal fluid leaks
- Deviated septum
- Nasal obstruction
- Nasal polyps
- Sinus headaches
- Smell and taste disorders
- Turbinate hypertrophy
A thorough physical examination is needed to determine the cause of nose and sinus problems. 2 important evaluation tests are mentioned below: –
Nasal endoscopy: – In this procedure, a narrow tube fitted with a tiny camera (called an endoscope) is passed through both the nostrils. For comfort, nostrils will be treated with a topical anaesthetic. The endoscope will help identify any swelling or blockage. Tissue samples will be taken for any abnormal growths.
CT scan: – A computed tomography (CT) scan of sinuses also may be recommended, along with a culture of any fluids draining from the nose. Blood tests may be ordered depending on other medical conditions.
Treatment depends upon the condition, results of diagnostic tests, and overall medical condition. Various treatment options are listed below: –
- Antibiotics: – Bacterial sinus infections are typically treated with antibiotics. Pain relievers and decongestants may be recommended for symptom management. In certain chronic (longstanding) cases, steroids either in the form of sprays or tablets (prednisone) may be recommended.
- Allergy testing: – If allergies are involved, testing to identify the specific agent may be necessary, followed by ongoing medical treatments.
- Image guided sinus surgery: – If the symptoms are persistent or polyps are present, and medical therapy has failed to result in improvement, image-guided sinus surgery may be recommended.
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery: – Many nose and sinuses conditions can be treated with a minimally invasive procedure known as functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). The endoscope, equipped with a light source and tiny camera, makes it possible for surgeons to remove growths blocking the sinuses without facial incisions. FESS is also used to enlarge drainage pathways in the sinuses.
- Balloon sinusplasty: – Balloon sinuplasty is done to dilate the sinuses in preparation for surgery. It is possible to perform some procedures in the physician’s office without general anesthesia.
The recovery time will depend on the type of treatment and how invasive it is. For some simple conditions’ medication would be required. For invasive procedure the hospital recovery may take 1- 3 days. One can get back to daily activities very soon. For more invasive surgeries, one may need some more time to heal. Be sure to ask your doctor about what to expect during recovery from your surgery.
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Frequently Asked Questions and patient concerns:
1. How is Acute Sinusitis Treated?
Acute sinusitis is normally treated with antibiotic treatment for ten to 14 days. The symptoms disappear with care, and antibiotics are not needed for that episode anymore. To relieve the effects, oral and topical decongestants can also be prescribed.
2. What is the difference between Chronic Sinusitis and Allergies or Colds?
A cold or allergy attack is often accompanied by sinusitis. Inflamed sinuses may result in colds and allergies, causing the sinus openings to become blocked. This prevents drainage of normal mucus and can result in sinusitis.
3. What is nasal endoscopy?
An endoscope is a special fiber optic device for examining the inside of a hollow viscus or canal. It helps the nose and sinus drainage areas to be visually inspected.
4. Will any changes in lifestyle be suggested during treatment?
Smoking is never approved, but it is important to refrain during treatment for sinus problems if one has the habit. There is no need for a special diet, but drinking extra fluids helps thin the mucus.
5. What does the surgical procedure entail?
Under local or general anesthesia, the basic endoscopic surgical procedure is conducted. Within four days, the patient returns to normal activities; it takes about four weeks to completely recover.
6. What are the consequences of not treating infected sinuses?
Unnecessary pain and discomfort will result from not seeking care for sinusitis. Meningitis or brain abscess and inflammation of the bone or bone marrow may happen in rare cases.
7. Where should sinus pain sufferers seek treatment?
You should seek care from an otolaryngologist—a head and neck surgeon, a doctor who can treat the condition with medical and/or surgical treatments, if you suffer from extreme sinus pain.
8. Are frequent headaches a sign of sinus disease?
There are many reasons for headaches, including stress. But if you have the following symptoms in addition to frequent, recurring headaches, you could have a sinus disease, so make sure to talk with a doctor:
- Worsening nasal obstruction lasting days or months
- Worsening yellow or green nasal discharge
- Decreased sense of smell
- Any combination of these three symptoms
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