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Rhinology (Sinus) Diagnosis & Treatment

The rhinology specialists at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health have a broad range of experience with conditions of the nose and sinus. There are more conditions that our specialists treat, but two conditions we help with often are chronic sinusitis and skull base tumors. You can learn more about these conditions and the treatment we offer below.

Chronic sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis is generally defined as inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages lasting more than three months (acute sinusitis, usually caused by viruses or bacteria, usually clears more quickly sometimes with antibiotic treatment). For some patients, sinusitis becomes chronic with symptoms that interfere with their quality of life, including:

  • Thick drainage from the nose
  • Facial pressure or fullness
  • Decreased smell or taste
  • Nasal congestion or obstruction
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Ear fullness or pressure

Customized treatment options

Our program offers both medical and surgical treatment options tailored to you. Medical therapy is our first step in treating chronic sinusitis, aiming to reduce inflammation, promote drainage and eliminate infections. These treatments can include antibiotics, nasal and sinus rinses, topical nasal steroids, immunotherapy, antihistamines and decongestants. Research suggests that some patients with chronic sinusitis may also benefit from control of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), though the relationship between GERD and sinusitis isn’t completely understood.

If medical therapy does not resolve your chronic sinusitis, sinus surgery may be an option, particularly if a physical abnormality such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps are causing your symptoms. This precision nasal surgery is performed by our ENT endoscopy surgery specialists with a miniature high-definition camera and a small endoscope. Most surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, allowing you to go home the same day. 

It is important to note that endoscopic sinus surgery does not cure chronic sinusitis, but works to reduce inflammatory triggers, which can make future medical therapy more effective.

Endoscopic skull base surgery

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health rhinology specialists treat several types of skull base tumors with endoscopic surgery. Operating with endoscopes is effective for tumors of the sinuses and craniofacial areas, whether malignant or benign. The endoscopic approach allows surgeons to start the procedure precisely at the tumor site and work outward, causing minimal disturbance to surrounding tissues. The reduced need to move or manipulate critical structures in the head means patients recover sooner, with less risk of complication and reduced pain.

Other conditions that can be treated with an endoscopic approach include:

  • Esthesioneuroblastomas
  • Sinonasal tumors
  • Inverted papillomas
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leaks (CSF leaks)
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Meningiomas
  • Congenital lesions or malformations, including orbital and skeletal defects

Get started

Schedule an appointment with a Virginia Mason Franciscan Health rhinology specialist today to get your treatment started.