Treating Allergies, Sinus Infections, Polyps and Other Nasal Problems
The physicians in the Ear, Nose and Throat Program (Otolaryngology) at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin use the most effective medical and surgical techniques to treat their patients’ nasal issues. Many of our otolaryngologists also conduct research, so they are extremely knowledgeable about the potential benefits and limitations of all available treatment options. Selecting the best treatment plan for individual patients requires a close collaboration between the physician, patient and other members of the healthcare team.
Medical Management of Nasal and Sinus Problems
Many sinus and other nose-related conditions can be treated without surgery. Non-surgical options include:
Medication. Oral or inhaled medications or nasal rinses may be used to treat allergies, nasal inflammation, nasal polyps, nosebleeds (epistaxis), and sinusitis.
Airway management appliances. Specialized devices can be used to hold the airway open during sleep. These devices are used to treat sleep apnea, minimize snoring and improve oxygenation. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can be used to hold the airway open; the machine blows air into the airway via a nose- or mouthpiece during sleep. Specially-made oral appliances also effectively treat sleep apnea in some patients.
Surgical Management of Nasal and Sinus Problems
If medical management fails to adequately treat your nasal problem – or if you have a structural problem with the nose and sinuses – surgery can help. Surgery is often used to:
Open the sinuses. Sometimes, blocked or narrowed openings to the sinus contribute to sinusitis. Using sinus surgery, physicians may remove the blockage or expand the opening to let mucous drain freely, thus relieving patients’ symptoms.
Repair the septum. Ever heard of a deviated septum? The nasal septum is the wall that divides your inner nose into two halves. If it’s out of place, it may obstruct breathing. A surgery called a septoplasty can be used to straighten or repair the septum and improve airflow within the nose.
Remove polyps or tumors. Cancerous or non-cancerous growths can be removed from the nose and sinuses using specialized nasal polyp surgery or tumor removal techniques.
Treat sleep apnea. Surgery is often used to treat severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Learn more about the different surgeries for sleep apnea.
Improve the appearance or function of the nose. A rhinoplasty, or plastic surgery of the nose, can change your look. Ear, nose and throat physicians (otolaryngologists) who specialize in facial plastic surgery can also help rebuild the nose after a traumatic accident or medical procedure that’s altered the appearance of the nose. Learn more about rhinoplasty and other forms of Facial Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery.
3-D Tool Adds Visual Guidance for Surgeons
Surgeons with the Sinus Care Program use a sophisticated 3-D navigation tool that provides computer-generated images to guide them during surgeries. The tool allows surgeons to better visualize structures of the face as they perform minimally invasive endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES), one of the most effective techniques for operating inside sinuses and nasal passages. This technique offers patients shorter recovery times and fewer side effects.