Struggling to breathe through a stuffy nose is one of the most annoying and unpleasant sensations that can quickly put a damper on your mood and overall wellbeing. Many individuals manage their discomfort with anti-allergy meds, nasal irrigation devices, and other remedies. But for people with congested sinuses, the struggle to breathe freely is ongoing. Medications and home remedies are not effective enough to provide the relief they desire.
World-renowned and board-certified Dr. Alen Cohen, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.R.S, and the Southern California Sinus Institute in West Hills in California offers safe, effective, and long-term relief for patients living with congested sinuses.
What Causes Congested Sinuses?
Nasal congestion occurs when the airways and delicate membranes in the nose become irritated and narrow. In some cases, they can become blocked. The most common causes of nasal airway obstructions are inflammation, a deviated septum, allergies, hypertrophic turbinates, nasal polyps, and chronic sinus infections. Congestion that persists longer than three months may be chronic and can become extremely dangerous and difficult to live with if left untreated.
Deviated Septum occurs when the cartilage between the nasal cavities becomes crooked or deviated. Septum deviations that are severely misaligned reduce the airflow in the nose. The condition often affects people who have suffered previous injuries to the nose or have inherited structural abnormalities. Deviated septum symptoms include facial pain, nosebleeds, snoring, headaches, stuffiness, and dry mouth.
Allergies can be triggered by environmental conditions such as pollen in the air, dust, pet dander, mold and other pollutants that persist in the air in California from the persistently warm and sometimes rainy weather as well as the smoke and pollution from fires. Inflammation causes the membrane in the nasal passages to swell. It can also cause persistent irritation, making it incredibly difficult for patients to breathe easily.
Sinus infections occur when the anatomical or environmental triggers cause the spaces in the sinuses in the air way to become narrower or blocked. The accumulation of bacteria, germs, and fluid in the membranes causes inflammation. Chronic sinusitis can develop from reoccurring sinus infections or rhinosinusitis that persists longer than 12 weeks. Chronic infections can cause pain and misery all year-round.
Hypertrophic turbinates are the bony structures inside the nasal passages. These mucosa-covered structures create three sections on each side of the nose to filter the air to keep harmful and irritating airborne particles from getting into the lungs. The shelves are small and extremely narrow. In the presence of inflammation and other factors, the inferior turbinates may swell, resulting in congestion that may or may not persist or reoccur and turn into chronic sinusitis.
Nasal polyps are abnormal tissue growths inside the nose and sinus cavities. Many people have nasal polyps that come and go or never go away. Polyps that develop in the nasal cavities or sinuses can become too large and impede or restrict proper airflow. Enlarged polyps in the nose can cause chronic congestion.
For many Southern California Sinus Institute patients, these are the source of agonizing pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and other types of discomfort. Dr. Cohen is one of the most prominent sinusitis experts in the country who remains committed to providing patients, like you, with safe and effective treatments for congested sinuses.
Treatments for Congested Sinuses
Treatment options for congested sinuses fall into three categories: medication, remedies, and surgery. Patients who have had lackluster success with medication and remedies benefit from the surgical skill and expertise of Dr. Cohen. He explains all treatment options with patients to help them make the best-informed decisions for their situations. For most surgical patients, the least invasive option is ideal.
In order to provide the most effective surgical treatment, a comprehensive medical assessment is necessary to rule out potential causes and rare conditions. He uses a variety of surgical techniques to correct the structures in the nose and nasal cavities to restore proper contour and function, so patients can breathe easily and enjoy happy, healthier, and more productive lives. Surgical options include:
Endoscopic Surgery – Image Guided Surgery allows Dr. Cohen to make precise alterations to the sinus cavities. To perform the procedure, he first examines the nasal passages with an endoscope to identify and confirm the problematic tissues and structures (damaged nasal cartilage and abnormal tissue growths/polyps). He often will also perform and in-office sinus CT scan as well to evaluate the severity and extent of sinus disease. He then uses a microscopic surgical tool to remove infected/inflamed tissues to make the sinus passageways larger and eliminate obstructions that interfere with proper airflow.
The treatment is so effective that it also reduces the possibility of future inflammation and sinusitis. Endoscopic sinus surgery takes under two hours to perform. Recovery is fast and painless, and there is no bruising or swelling. The procedure is also highly effective at repairing deviated septum and enlarged turbinates.
Balloon Sinuplasty dilates the nasal and sinus airways. Dr. Cohen inserts special medical balloons inside the nasal passages in order to remove blockages and allow proper drainage to resume. Inflating the balloons creates micro-fractures along the sinus opening enlarging them and allowing excess mucus or pus to drain. Therefore, it opens the sinus cavities. It is often combined with turbinate reduction to also improve airflow into the nose and sinuses permanently.
The entire procedure takes under an hour to perform. Patients with severe chronic sinusitis or polyps who need more than just balloon sinuplasty, may also benefit from having endoscopic or image guided endoscopic sinus surgery as well at the same time right in the office under local anesthesia in Dr. Cohen’s expert hands.
Deviated Septum Repair (Septoplasty) reshapes the damaged cartilage and bone to restore proper alignment to the septum. Depending on the severity of the condition, Dr. Cohen offers the procedure in-office or outpatient. He makes a tiny incision to make surgical corrections to the septum without damaging bone tissue or making cosmetic alterations to the nose.
Septoplasty patients experience minimal downtime and can resume normal activities within one week. The procedure takes less than one hour for Dr. Cohen to perform.
Patients suffering from congestion may opt to get a septorhinoplasty to repair septum deviations and improve the overall cosmetic structure and appearance of the nose. The septorhinoplasty takes under two hours for Dr. Cohen to complete.
During recovery, septorhinoplasty patients wear a nasal splint for several days and may experience minor discoloration, bruising, and swelling around the nose and eye area.
In-Office Polyectomy is similar to Balloon sinuplasty, but it involves Dr. Cohen using an endoscope and microdebrider to treat polypoid sinus disease and remove nasal polyps to prevent sinusitis, so patients can breathe, smell and taste normally and comfortably.
Latera® Valve Repair involves Dr. Cohen inserting a special implant into the swollen or damaged nasal cartilage to prevent the lateral nasal wall from collapsing. The nasal implant makes it easier for patients to breathe through unobstructed airways. It is a relatively quick in-office procedure that doesn’t cosmetically alter the nose.
Dr. Cohen routinely uses this revolutionary procedure to help Los Angeles and Ventura County area patients breathe easier. He was one of the first physicians in the United States to pioneer the procedure.
Revision Sinus Surgery is used to treat recurrent advanced polyps, severe sinus infections that are unresponsive to other treatments and scars or synechiae in the sinus entryways. Patients from all over the country turn to Dr. Cohen for his expertise in sinus and congestion treatments.
His exceptional skill and surgical knowledge, along with his nearly flawless success rate, are unmatchable. He performs revision sinus surgery on patients with severe congestion and advanced nasal polyps who experienced difficultly during the post-operative phase of previous sinus surgeries and treatments.
Dr. Cohen uses a variety of special surgical techniques to perform surgical revisions to the sinus cavities that are not limited to Propel™ stent placement, balloon revision dilation, and in-office endoscopic lysis of synechiae.
ClariFix ® is a minimally invasive treatment for patients who suffer from persistent congestion, nasal drainage (runny nose), postnasal drainage that does not respond to medications. Dr. Cohen administers a local anesthetic before inserting a special medical cryotherapy probe into the back of the nasal cavities. He uses the probe to freeze the nerves to provide immediate relief from inflammation, congestion, and pain from non-allergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis.
Many insurances do not cover cosmetic nasal repair procedures like rhinoplasty. But patients can minimize their out-of-pocket costs by combining congestion treatment that improves function with cosmetic procedures to improve their ability to breathe freely and improve the appearance of their nose. Dr. Cohen remains fully committed to providing the most effective, minimally invasive, and cost-effective treatments for his patients.
Breathe Easy With Southern California Sinus Institute
Dr. Cohen provides multiple treatment options for sinus infections, chronic sinusitis, nasal obstructions, congestion, and cosmetic enhancements to improve the shape, structure, and function of the nose.
To learn safe and effective medication therapies and surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for congestion and sinus, contact Dr. Cohen at the Southern California Sinus Institute.