Sinus & Allergy

Our sinus and allergy clinic in Houston is designed to address any and all of your nasal and sinus complaints. These symptoms may be caused by allergies, structural blockages, chronic infections or inflammation, or by a combination of these issues. Some people have persistent sneezing, itchy eyes and throat, runny nose, and nasal congestion.

Allergies

  • Allergies are a type of dysfunction of the immune system. IgE antibodies are created by the immune system in response to triggering substances called antigens.
  • Typical antigens in Houston include pollen from trees, weeds, and grasses; dust mites; mold; and animal dander.
  • When antibodies bind to the antigens, many chemical reactions occur, causing the release of histamine and other allergenic proteins.
  • These proteins may cause itching, sneezing, cough, drainage, congestion, and asthma./li>
  • We may recommend allergy testing to determine what is triggering your condition. The symptoms may be treated with medication, avoidance, or in some cases, immunotherapy.
  • TOPs Sinus and Allergy Center will design a comprehensive immunotherapy program based upon your individual allergy testing results to provide long-term relief.

Sinuses

  • The sinuses are air-filled spaces in the bones of the face and skull. Some sinuses are present at birth and others develop over time.
  • The sinuses form to reduce the weight of the head. The reduced weight of the head allows for a larger brain to develop.
  • When the sinuses become infected, it causes swelling of the lining of the nasal cavity and leads to obstruction.
  • Sinus infections can be acute, recurrent acute, or chronic (lasting more than 3 months).
  • Recurrent acute or chronic sinus infections may be treated with medication. In some cases, minimally invasive surgery using small nasal telescopes through the nostrils are used to treat the infection and restore normal functioning of the sinuses.
  • Sinuses may also be treated by using balloon catheters to dilate the small sinus openings in either the operating room or in the office. This is called balloon sinuplasty.
  • The nose and sinuses can also become blocked by nasal polyps or by nasal tumors that can usually be removed using nasal telescopes.

Nasal Obstruction

  • Nasal blockage may be caused allergies, infections, or by the anatomy of the nose.

Septum

  • The septum is a cartilage and bone structure that separates the two sides of the nose.
  • The septum may be deviated to one side or the other, causing obstruction. Septal deviation may occur as the nose grows during development or by nasal trauma.
  • The septal deviation may be fixed with a surgery called a septoplasty.

Turbinates

  • Obstruction may also be caused by enlargement of nasal turbinates. The turbinates are ridge-shaped structures inside the nose responsible for warming and humidifying air as you breathe.
  • The turbinates swell up and shrink down on either side of the nose every two to six hours. This is the normal nasal cycle but may cause alternating nasal obstruction on the right or left sides. The turbinates may also swell when you lie down on your side to sleep.
  • The turbinates may permanently increase in size due to allergies, chronic sinus infections, or chronic topical nasal decongestant use (i.e. Afrin, 4-Way Nasal Spray, etc.)
  • The turbinates may be surgically reduced in size by either a turbinoplasty in the operating room or by turbinectomy performed in the office under local anesthesia.

Nasal Evaluation

  • We may recommend video nasal endoscopy to see the areas of blockage and evaluate abnormal growths inside the nose.
  • A CAT scan of the sinuses may be ordered to determine if there are areas of chronic infection, chronic inflammation, sinus blockage, or nasal polyps.
  • A special CAT scan with image guidance may also be ordered. This advanced technology works like GPS for the sinuses and is used to aid in complex sinus surgery.

To determine how much chronic sinusitis symptoms are affecting your daily life, a test known as the Sino-nasal Outcome Test or SNOT-22 has been developed. To take this test, please click here (You will need Microsoft Excel to open this test. You can download a free version if you don’t have it on your computer.)

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