Sinuses and Nasal Stuffiness

The most common question the patient may ask himself is “Do I want to breathe better?”. Not surprisingly, the answer to this question will be “Yes”. Commonly, the belief is that the most common reason for difficulty breathing is a septal problem. In our experience, the reason is actually from the turbinates. The turbinates are like radiators in both sides of the nasal cavity. These structures have the capacity to regulate the airway, separate from our conscious mind, during the daytime. However, if the patient has unknown allergies, hypersensitivities or infections, this mechanism is broken and the turbinates continue enlarged and do no relax themselves. This creates difficulty for air to pass through the narrow spaces. This disease is simply called turbinate hypertrophy. However, the reasons for this development can be various. The most common cause is allergic rhinitis, untreated or unnoticed for several years. The other causes are severe nasal trauma in the past (which causes irregular growth of both inferior turbinates), chronic infections, chronic sinus disease, or some autoimmune diseases. We also have patients with hypertrophy of the turbinates and no known reason.

The therapy is different for every patient. First, we have to identify the cause. If it is allergy-related, that will have to be treated and controlled.

The surgery for this utilizes a turbinoplasty technique, which was developed by Dr. P.J. Wormald, from Australia. There is a strictly 50% decrease in size of the turbinates without causing any functional destruction of these organs. No packing is required. The patients can return to work in a few days and full physical activity, including jogging and running, in 2 weeks.

The other cause of nasal stuffiness is a deviated septum, which many have, but may not require any surgery. There are few of us who have this syndrome that may require surgery. This surgery is done under general anesthesia or light sedation. None of these surgeries require packing to the nose.

There are other problems, such nasal polyposis, chronic sinus disease, and infection, but these are beyond the limits of this web page.