Hay Fever, Sinusitis and Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Melbourne is the unofficial Capital City for Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis). Not only do we have four seasons in a day, we also have an extra special season thrown in called Thunderstorm Asthma Season, which severely affects hay fever sufferers.

It’s no wonder ENT surgeons routinely meet with average Melburnians who suffer from nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, post nasal drip, facial pressure, headaches and “sinus”. The term “sinus” is a confusing one as it often means different things to different people. For some it means facial pressure, for others it means headaches. For an ENT surgeon, sinus is a distinct anatomical pathology.  

Anatomically speaking, a third of your face is made up of your nose and sinuses. The sinuses are these bony airbags inside your forehead and cheeks, around the eyes and under the brain. The lining of your nose and sinuses are similar to the lining of your throat, voice box and airway. Therefore, any irritation to one part often affects the whole unified airway, hence asthma, hay fever and sinusitis are overlapping diseases. Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) is extremely common and can be caused by allergies, chemicals, infection (bacterial, viral, fungal), or even from a tumour. Anatomical enlargement of the turbinates (cushions in the nose), deviation of the septum (midline wall of the nose) or obstruction of sinus drainage pathways can cause nasal blockage, mucous congestion, polyps, sinusitis and leads to facial pressure, headaches, runny nose and/or a loss of taste and smell.  

Endoscopic nose & sinus surgery is one of the most common procedures that any ENT surgeon would perform, if surgery was warranted. Septoplasty, turbinoplasty, sinus wash out, and other nasal procedures are all done via a keyhole through the nostrils. Many nasal and brain tumours can now be removed through the nose. Fortunately for the vast majority of patients, medical therapy with minor endoscopic sinus surgery is all that is required.

Getting an expert assessment and opinion is always a good first step. Please contact us for an appointment. Dr Levi is also available to provide educational talks on this topic.