Diagnosing Nasal and Sinus Problems
Getting the diagnosis right is the first step to developing an effective treatment plan. Your first visit to the Ear, Nose and Throat Program (Otolaryngology) at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin will include a thorough physical examination, medical history and review of any previous medical tests and procedures. Your healthcare provider may also order additional testing to pinpoint the cause of your problem.
Diagnostic TestsDiagnostic testing is ordered on the basis of symptoms. If you are prone to frequent infections, an immune function test may be ordered to see if your immune system is working properly. Nasal cultures, X-rays and other tests may be ordered to provide diagnostic clues. Some tests that are commonly used to diagnose nasal problems include:
Allergy testing. Skin-prick testing is often used when nasal allergies are suspected. Very small amounts of possible allergens (materials that can cause allergic reactions) are injected beneath the skin; if the skin in that area becomes red and inflamed, you may be allergic to that allergen. Blood tests can also be used to look for specific antibodies that may indicate the presence of an allergy.
Sleep study. If you snore and stop breathing at night (sleep apnea), a sleep study may be ordered. Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin has two state-of-the-art sleep centers, both accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and staffed by board-certified and fellowship-trained sleep medicine doctors.
CT scans. Computed tomography scans, better known as CT scans, are used to visualize the sinuses and inner structures of the nose.
MRI Scans. Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans, also known as MRI’s, are often used to visualize the deep brain structures and connections of nasal disease to the brain.
Nasal endoscopy. An endoscope is a thin tube that can be inserted into the nasal passageways. The tube includes a light and magnifying lens, allowing the physician to see the inside of the nose.
Date: Oct. 26, 2012
Last Review Date: April 5, 2013
Online Editor(s): Richard Petre