The sinuses are cavities located in the forehead, cheeks and between the eyes. They have a lining that constantly produces mucus, which is moved out of the sinuses and toward the back of the nose by the action of microscopic hairs (cilia). Dust, allergens, bacteria and fungal spores that are inhaled are trapped in the mucus and usually carried out of the nose by this system, which is very similar to the clearance mechanism of the lungs.
Diagram of the sinus cavities and associated structures
Sinusitis (properly called Rhinosinusitis) is inflammation of the sinus and nasal lining. It is the result of a combination of impaired mucus clearance, microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses) and inflammation of the sinus lining.
Treatment of Sinusitis
Treatment is aimed at improving mucus clearance, removing microorganisms and reducing inflammation. Medical treatment is usually attempted first, with tablets, sprays and / or nasal washes.
If this is unsuccessful, surgery may be recommended. Surgery is performed to:
- Remove obstructions to mucus clearance
- Remove thick, infected mucus and other material from the sinuses
- Open the sinuses so that after surgery nasal washes and other nasal medications can get into the sinuses
- Improve the airway