Sinusitis Exam 101 – What to Expect

nasal endoscopy

What should a patient expect during a sinusitis exam?

If you have certain symptoms, such as pain or pressure in the facial areas, headaches, or a bad cough, the ENT will give you a physical exam for sinusitisDuring this sinusitis exam, the doctor thoroughly looks at the ears, nose, and throat to see if anything is blocking the nasal passages. Inside your nose and sinuses, the doctor inspects the lining called the mucous membrane to see if there is any inflammation.

It’s important to examine any areas that feel especially swollen. Therefore, your doctor will gently press around your face. When there is tenderness, the location and severity of the pain is noted, as this can help in determining where the problems originate. For instance, the ethmoid sinuses often present as pain along the nose bridge. Pain in the cheek areas could indicate problems with the maxillary sinuses.

Initial diagnosis of sinusitis is typically achieved after determining your medical history and having a physical exam. However, you may require additional exams to confirm the condition if the diagnosis is unclear, antibiotics have not fixed the issues, or if you are having suspected complications like an infection. These exams can include imaging like an X-ray or CT scan, or specific exams performed by an ear, nose, throat (ENT) specialist.

Endoscope Procedure

Your ENT may use an endoscope to look at the inside of your nose and sinus cavities if there is suspicion of chronic sinusitis. First, you would receive a decongestant and numbing agent by nose. The endoscope tube with a small camera on the end is placed next to your sinuses. It cannot enter the sinuses, but it can locate small growths like polyps which are sometimes difficult to see in the initial physical exam. The entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes.

Another exam involves taking out some of the fluid in the sinuses with a small needle. This is to determine the type of bacteria or microorganism creating the infection, pain, or pressure. MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is also used when your doctor suspects an infection has spread. Or to ensure there are no tumors or unusual cell growths.

We Can Help You Find Relief

The most important part of your sinusitis exam is making the first call for the appointment. Contact Palm Beach Sinus Doctors at Gardens Cosmetic Center today at 561-776-7112 or use our web contact form. We’ll follow-up right away and make sure you get the quality care you deserve.