Nasal and Sinus Polyposis

Nasal and Sinus Polyposis are growths on the lining of the nasal passages and sinuses. They are not cancerous and they usually don’t hurt, although the pressure from them may cause headaches or a feeling of pressure and fullness. They are caused by long term inflammation of the nose and sinuses which may be due to infection, allergies, asthma, aspirin sensitivity or diseases like cystic fibrosis. No one is sure why some people get polyps and some do not. Small polyps may not cause any symptoms, but large polyps can block the nose and make it difficult to breathe through the nose. They also may block the smell receptors in the nose, making it hard to smell things. Since smell and taste are closely related, polyps can also affect your sense of taste.

Signs you might have Sinus Polyposis:

  • Stuffed up nose
  • Feeling like you always have a cold
  • Excess drainage and a runny nose
  • Mucous dripping down the back of the throat
  • Facial pressure or pain
  • Lack of sense of smell
  • Lack of taste

To diagnose nasal polyps, the doctor will look in your nose with a small camera. The polyps look like grayish/white water balloons. The doctor may also get a CT scan to look at the areas of the sinus we can’t see with the camera.

Sometimes medication like steroid nasal spray, oral steroid pills, and antihistamines are enough to make the polyps shrink down and the symptoms get better. In some people the medicine is not enough and they need Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery or FESS to clear out the polyps and open the nose. Because polyps can block the points the surgeon needs to see during surgery, we use computer aided surgery to help make the surgery as safe as possible.

Sinus disease and polyps can be a long term problem. Even after a successful surgery, many people still need to use nasal sprays and medications to make sure the polyps do not come back. Sometimes polyps come back and cause enough problems that another surgery is needed. In these cases we can perform Revision Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery, or revision FESS. In these cases using computer aided surgery is very important because many of the surgical landmarks may be altered by the polyps and the previous surgery.

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