What is Image Guided Sinus Surgery?

Sinus infections and sinusitis affect millions of people each year. Estimates top 30 million Americans or more.

If you suffer from sinusitis (regularly occurring sinus infections), your ear, nose and throat doctor may suggest image-guided sinus surgery or minimally invasive sinus surgery.

It sounds high-tech and it is. The good news is that minimally invasive sinus surgery is a more effective way to treat sinus infections and sinusitis and offers real benefits to patients.

Read: 5 Benefits of Minimally Invasive Sinus Surgery [LINK TO NEWARTICLE]

A GPS System for the Sinuses

You’ve likely used a GPS navigation system like Google Maps while driving. These systems help navigate complex roadways and point you in the right direction.

An image-guided surgery system works much like a GPS system for your sinuses. The surgeon inserts an endoscope (similar to a telescope) into the nose. A camera lens is located at one END of the scope while the other end is linked to a computer monitor.

The system helps the surgeon create a detailed surgical plan by viewing a three-dimensional map of the twisting nasal passageways on the computer screen. This plan includes the ideal locations to make any incisions, critical areas within the nose to avoid and the best path to the infected area.

Best of all, this map returns information in real time, so a surgeon can react and adjust as needed to help ensure a successful outcome.

Prior to the procedure, Ear, Nose and Throat Center may perform a CT scan of the sinuses on our in-house CT scanner located in our downtown Salt Lake City office. A special mask may be placed on your head that provides information that serves as reference points during the scan and surgery. The CT technician may also place temporary marks on your face to indicate key reference points.

This data is loaded into the image-guided system to create a pre-surgery map and then consulted during surgery.

Why Choose Image-Guided Sinus Surgery?

Our ENT doctors in Salt Lake City and Draper, Utah regularly recommend and perform image-guided sinus surgery because it offers key advantages, including greater accuracy and precision, minimal or no scarring and faster recovery times.

Most people who experience image-guided sinus surgery can return to work within a few days. Recovery symptoms are often compared to the feeling of congestion that accompanies a head cold or sinus infection.

Learn More about Minimally Invasive Sinus Surgery

Regular sinus infections can be diagnosed and treated by a trained ear, nose and throat doctor. Our board-certified ENT doctors in Salt Lake City and Draper, Utah are happy to answer questions about minimally invasive sinus surgery and determine if that treatment approach makes sense for your conditions.

Our surgical outcomes are excellent and we welcome your call at 801-328-2522 to schedule an appointment.

image guided sinus surgery

5 Advantages of Minimally Invasive Sinus Surgery

Sinusitis and sinus infections impact nearly 30 million Americans each year. Our Salt Lake City and Draper ENT doctors see sinus patients each day and we’re constantly seeking new procedures that can help patients avoid chronic bouts of swollen or inflamed sinuses.

Read: 5 Signs You May have Sinusitis

One of the most significant developments in sinus treatment is endoscopic sinus surgery. This minimally invasive outpatient procedure is particularly effective in treating sinus problems while offering real advantages to the ENT doctor and patient.

Today we’re exploring five benefits of minimally invasive sinus surgery.

Benefit #1: Eliminates Incisions on the Face

In the past, ENT doctors performed sinus surgery through an “open procedure” that required a long incision. That longer incision could lead to scarring and a less attractive surgical outcome.

Minimally invasive sinus surgery is performed within the nose and eliminates facial incisions and scarring.

Benefit #2: Provides More Visibility and Accuracy

Minimally invasive sinus surgery is performed within the nose using endoscopes, cameras and miniature instruments. Images from within the nose are projected on a computer monitor and the doctor is able to precisely remove problem areas while protecting healthy tissue.

The image-guided system ultimately helps ENT doctors navigate the maze of small passages and cavities within the sinuses with exceptional accuracy.

Benefit #3: Shortens Operating Times

An endoscopic sinus surgery is usually mapped in advance, which speeds surgery times and decreases the length of time our patients spend in the operating room and under anesthesia.

This reduced procedural time lets our patients return home within a few hours following surgery and speeds recovery.

Benefit #4: Outpatient Surgery vs. Hospital Stay

We perform minimally invasive sinus surgery in Utah’s first in-house Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery Center. Located in downtown Salt Lake City, our surgery center is staffed by nursing professionals and board-certified anesthesiologists who get to know you as a person instead of a number on a long list of surgery patients.

Our surgical outcomes are exceptional and our patients regularly tell us how much they appreciate the attention, care and quick recovery from our outpatient surgeries.

Benefit #5: Faster Recovery Times

Any type of surgery requires time to renew and recover. With minimally invasive sinus surgery, recovery times accelerate and our Utah nose surgery patients can typically return to work within a few days.

Minimally invasive nose surgery typically doesn’t result in black eyes. That’s a big improvement over prior methods that often left patients with a bruised and blackened appearance following surgery.

Learn More about Minimally Invasive Sinus Surgery

Regular sinus infections can be diagnosed and treated by a trained ear, nose and throat doctor. Our board-certified ENT doctors in Salt Lake City and Draper, Utah are happy to answer questions about minimally invasive sinus surgery and determine if that treatment approach makes sense for your conditions.

Our surgical outcomes are excellent and we welcome your call at 801-328-2522 to schedule an appointment.

example of sinusitis

5 Signs You May Have Sinusitis

Sinusitis in Utah (and the rest of the United States) is a common problem. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 29 million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis. Remarkably, that’s nearly 13 percent of the entire population.

We hear you asking, What is sinusitis? Quite simply, sinusitis is another name for a sinus infection.

Sinus infections are episodes when the nasal passages become swollen and inflamed. Some episodes of sinusitis are brief while chronic sinusitis lasts from 4 to 12 weeks or longer and often occurs more than 4 times in a single year.

There are a variety of causes of sinusitis, including viruses, bacterial infections, nasal polyps, respiratory tract infections and allergies. Fortunately, there are common signs and symptoms of sinusitis that may indicate you have the condition and should seek treatment.

Sinusitis Symptoms

It’s easy to confuse a common cold with sinusitis. Both can cause a runny and congested nose. However, with a sinus infection or sinusitis, it’s likely that two of the following symptoms are present.

1. Thick Yellow or Green Discharge

You’re familiar with the normal consistency and color of mucus. It’s generally light colored and fairly thin, slippery and viscous. When you have a sinus infection, the discharge from your nose becomes thicker and a darker yellow or green color is common.

2. Headache

A deep, dull, ongoing headache is one of the common signs of a sinusitis. You’ll feel the ache in your cheekbones, forehead and the bridge of your nose. One of the fastest ways to make a sinus headache worse is to move your head quickly from side to side. Ouch!

Read: 6 Easy Ways to Relieve a Sinus Headache

3. Difficulty Breathing Through Your Nose

Sinusitis can block the ability to breathe through your nose. If you’ve suddenly become a mouth breather and you can’t clear your nose well enough to breathe normally, you may have a sinus infection.

4. Tenderness and Swelling around Your Eyes, Nose, Cheeks and Forehead

A sinus infection often leaves your head feeling like a giant soccer ball that has been kicked around. It feels tender. It feels heavy. Lightly touching your cheeks, nose and forehead causes pain. You need relief and you need it soon.

5. Reduced Sense of Taste and Smell

When your nose is stuffed, it’s difficult to taste and smell the foods you normally love. If you’re wondering if you’re having difficulty tasting and smelling food, order your favorite pizza or cook a favorite dish, preferably one with some spice and aroma. If you can barely smell and taste the food, you may have a sinus infection.

Other less common symptoms include ear pain, nausea, bad breath, cough and sore throat.

Call the Ear, Nose and Throat Sinus Center for Diagnosis and Treatment

If you recognize these sinusitis symptoms—and symptoms consistently last longer than 7 days and occur on a fairly regular basis—it’s time to contact an ear, nose and throat doctor in Draper, Salt Lake City or Park City, Utah.

The ENT doctors at the Ear, Nose and Throat Sinus Center regularly and successfully treat patients with sinusitis. Our outcomes are excellent. Call 801-328-2522 today to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to eliminate the pain and hassle of sinusitis.

woman with sinus headache

6 Easy Ways to Relieve a Sinus Headache

Colds and sinus infections (sinusitis) often lead to sinus pain. You have a headache. Your cheeks and nose can all become sensitive to the touch. Your sinuses are blocked and you feel fairly awful.

The good news is that most sinus pain is only temporary. However, while most colds get better on their own after a week, a sinus infection can linger longer.

Read: 5 Signs You May Have a Sinus Infection

Today we’re highlighting 6 tips to help you relieve sinus pain. Best of all, none of these remedies require a trip to the doctor’s office.

However, if these tips don’t help relieve your sinus headache, we suggest you call the Ear, Nose and Throat Sinus Center at 801-328-2522. We have the best ENT doctors in Salt Lake City, Draper and Park City and we’re ready to help diagnose and treat sinus pain and infections.

1. Use a Humidifier in Your Home

Utah is one of the driest states in the country. In fact, people from humid climates sometimes get nosebleeds when they arrive in Utah during the winter months simply because the air is so dry. But your nose and sinuses can get stuffy in Utah, too, and a humidifier can fix that problem by introducing moist air into your environment. We recommend you use a humidifier when you sleep at night. Alternatively, if you don’t have a humidifier, a steamy shower before you go to sleep can work wonders in reducing congestion and sinus pain and helping you sleep better. Inhaling the steam from a boiling pan of water also works well.

2. Use a Neti Pot

You may have heard, seen or even used a Neti pot. This simple, natural remedy works well and many ear, nose and throat doctors recommend Neti pots to help drain clogged sinuses. Neti pots can be used daily, but only for the short term. That’s because long-term sinus pain and congestion may indicate a chronic sinus infection.

Read: 5 Facts about Neti Pots and Nasal Irrigation

3. Use a Saline Nose Spray

A nose spray works well to temporarily reduce sinus swelling and pain. But you want to use a saline spray since the saline mist can help break up the mucus. You can use the spray up to six times daily without risk of side effects.

4. Use a Decongestant Nose Spray (for 3 Days Only)

Decongestant nose sprays are available over the counter and provide quick relief. But you don’t want to use these sprays longer than a few days because they can actually make your congestion worse if used too long. Ask your ENT doctor for recommendations.

5. Apply a Warm Compress

This is an old-school mode of sinus relief that is still used because it works. Place a moist and warm washcloth across your forehead, eyes and cheeks and relax. When the washcloth cools, bathe it again in warm water and repeat. It’s sinus relief just like grandma used to do it.

6. Take Pain Relievers

Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) can all help relieve sinus pain and are over-the-counter pain relievers. We generally suggest you try these other remedies first. But if your sinus headache persists, take the recommended dose of any of these pain relievers. Consult with your doctor and read the directions on the back of the pain reliever package to ensure you’re always staying within the appropriate dosage.

Man sneezing from the flu

Maintain Healthy Sinuses

Cold and flu season peaks during the fall and winter months each year. It’s a time when a painful sore throat, heavy congestion and a headache can make it difficult to breathe, sleep or function normally. The result is that many of us stay away from work and family as we try to recuperate from a bout with the flu or a cold.

If you’re suffering from the flu, a cold, allergies or sinusitis, you’re not so worried about the actual reason for your sickness. You just want to get well.

Our Utah ENT doctors at the Ear, Nose and Throat Center in Salt Lake City and Draper, Utah are ready to help and we can diagnose your flu or cold symptoms and help you recover. But there are a number of good habits people can follow that can help keep sinuses clear during cold and flu season. The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery recommends you follow these five tips to maintain sinus health.

We also recommend you get a flu shot each year.

Read: 5 Reasons to Get a Flu Shot Each Year

1. Drink Lots of Fluids

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to regularly drink fluids. You’ll stay hydrated and fluids can help ensure that your mucus or nasal discharges stays thin. Drinking fluids regularly also helps prevent congestion. The old guideline of 6-8 glasses of water each day can help your sinus health while it strengthens your immune system.

2. Use a Humidifier

A humidifier can help break down congestion by introducing moisture into your environment. Humidifiers are particularly helpful in arid states like Utah where the air is naturally dry and humidity is extremely low. And since most Utah homes are heated using forced-air furnaces that can also irritate your sinuses, you may soon find that using a humidifier in your bedroom each night can help you get more restful sleep (plus, your skin will become less dry–consider that a bonus).

3. Avoid Smoking and Drinking Alcohol

You already know that smoking can quickly irritate the nose of the smoker as well as the people around the smoker. But you may not know that alcohol can cause nasal and sinus membranes to swell, which, in some cases, exposes them to irritation and infection. If you often find yourself congested, stop smoking and drinking alcohol and monitor your health. You may be surprised by how much better you feel.

Read: Ear, Nose and Throat Center Helps Utah Smokers Stop Smoking

4. Avoid Contact with Allergy Triggers

If you suffer from allergies, you need to avoid contact with those items that trigger allergy symptoms like a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat. If you can’t avoid these triggers, use over-the-counter allergy medicines to help control congestion.

Read: 5 Tips to Avoid Allergies in Utah

5. Use Nasal Sprays

Cold and flu season is one of the busiest travel times of the year. If you plan to fly, use a nasal spray decongestant before take-off. The nasal spray will help mucus drain naturally and you’ll avoid blockage of the sinuses.

The Ear, Nose and Throat Center specializes in diagnosing and treating sinus conditions, congestion, flu and cold symptoms. Contact us to set an appointment today.


Neti pot to irrigate sinus

5 Facts about Neti Pots

Millions of Americans suffer from sinusitis or sinus infections each year. In Utah, we see patients who live with sinus infections year round and they wonder what they can do for sinus relief.

Sinusitis or a sinus infection occurs when the membrane lining of the sinus becomes inflamed. Patients often describe symptoms like a stuffy head, headaches, clogged nasal passages. Some even describe feeling like their head is going to explode. Fortunately, heads don’t explode from sinus infections, so rest easy.

Read: 20 Questions about Sinusitis and Sinus Infections

Sinus infections respond well to antibiotics and decongestants. But many sinusitis sufferers ask us about natural sinus remedies. One of the most popular you’ve likely heard about is a Neti pot. Dr. Oz introduced this natural nasal irrigation solution on the Oprah Winfrey show. Soon Neti pots were flying off the shelves at local drugstores.

But the question remains: does a Neti pot work?

Let’s look at 5 facts about Neti pots.

Fact #1: Neti Pots Work to Drain Clogged Sinuses

Does a Neti pot help drain clogged sinuses? The simple answer is yes, the Neti pot can help drain your sinuses. In fact, many ear, nose and throat doctors recommend Neti pots following sinus surgery and many recommend a Neti pot to help drain clogged sinuses.

Does that mean the Neti pot is the ultimate sinus-clearing solution? Probably not. But it can provide relief for patients with clogged sinuses.

Fact #2: Neti Pots Come from India

There is nothing new about Neti pots or saline nasal irrigation. There is documented use of Neti pots thousands of years ago in ancient Indian history. The idea goes way back yet the goal of nasal irrigation remains the same today: relieve allergy, cold or sinus symptoms by running warm, pure saltwater through one nostril and out the other.

It sounds a little strange, and indeed, the first time you try it, it may feel just as strange as it sounds. We’ve included a video that shows how to use a Neti pot if you want to give this alternative therapy a try.

Watch a video of how to use a Neti pot

Fact #3: Neti Pots Best Used for Temporary Relief

Our patients ask if Neti pots can be used daily. Yes, in the short term. But if you experience lingering sinus infections or inflammation, you may have a sinus issue that should be evaluated by an ear, nose and throat doctor. At the Ear, Nose and Throat Center, our Utah ear, nose and throat doctors look closely at your sinusitis symptoms and recommend the right course of treatment that may include the use of antibiotics, decongestants and sinus surgery, when necessary.

Fact #4: Side Effects Are Limited

Regular use of a Neti pot can trigger side effects in about 10 percent of users. Typical side effects include a stinging sensation within the nose or general nasal irritation. In rare cases, a bloody nose has been observed following use of a Neti pot. But generally speaking, Neti pots have become popular simply because they are viewed as a gentle and affordable way to help deal with clogged sinuses.

If you do encounter side effects, simply reducing the amount of saline in the water can help. Or adjust the water temperature (cold water is a bad idea but too warm can also be a problem). You may also want to adjust how often you use a Neti pot. Make some modifications, then trust your body to point you in the right direction. And if you still have questions, refer to fact #5 below.

Fact #5: Ask Your Doctor if a Neti Pot Is Right For You

Okay, that headline sounds like the disclaimer on your typical prescription drug advertisement. But the advice is sound. If you have questions about your sinuses, sinus infections, Neti pots or any other nose or breathing issues, talk to one of our board-certified ENT doctors in Salt Lake City, Draper and Park City, Utah. We’ll work with you to determine if a Neti pot can help you treat your sinus issues. And we can also diagnose and treat lingering sinus issues.