Allergy and Sinus Problems
Allergy and sinus problems are burdensome and uncomfortable; they are a persistent occurrence for many people, and can be extremely painful and at times life-threatening.
As a board-certified head and neck surgeon and a highly regarded provider of allergy treatment and sinus surgery for those in Beverly Hills, Greater Los Angeles, and all Southern California, Dr. Babak Larian has the experience necessary to help individuals reduce or eliminate pain and discomfort associated with allergies or other sinus conditions, and control their disease. He achieves success by having a close relationship with his patients in treating this often difficult problem.
Identification of Sinusitis
Our sinuses consist of small chambers in the face and skull bones next to the nasal cavity that have narrow openings into the nasal cavity that allows drainage of mucous out of the sinuses. (Fig 1 & 2) Since healthy sinuses assist in clearing excess mucus, a sinus blockage from a viral upper respiratory infection or nasal allergies can lead to fluid accumulation, increasing the probability of a bacterial infection. If this infection lasts for less than four weeks, it is called acute sinusitis. An inflammation that persists for three months or longer is called chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis is characterized by discolored nasal discharge, congestion, decrease in the ability to smell and taste, and decrease in the ability to breathe through the nose. Chronic sinusitis can be very painful and cause infections that track into the eye and even the brain if not treated. Dr. Larian provides a variety of treatment options for both acute and chronic sinusitis, from medical therapy to revolutionary treatment including Balloon Sinuplasty™, image-guided sinus surgery, and Targeted Endoscopic Sinus Surgery. With his international reputation and leadership role in the field, Dr. Larian is also visited by patients from across the country and the world.
Diagnosis will require a complete history and a thorough exam. Nasal examination may include nasal endoscopy, which shows the internal nasal and sinus anatomy with a magnifying “telescope”. (Figure. Nasal Endoscopy)
Diagnosing Sinusitis through in-office CT Scanning
Sinusitis can be difficult to diagnose, since many of its symptoms are the same as those experienced with the common cold. In addition to a thorough exam and nasal endoscopy a CT scan may be necessary to help with diagnosis. The in-office CT scanner makes this very easy; it can be completed in 15 minutes, thus helping guide us as to the appropriate treatment plan instantly.
Acute sinusits can be treated in a variety of ways, all are aimed ate opening the sinuses and allowing the infected material to drain out. (Fig 3) Over-the-counter medications such as decongestants are helpful, but at time not enough at which point they may need to be combined with antibiotics. Chronic Sinusitis is more complex; treatment is geared towards controlling the underlying cause, which is usually chronic inflammation due to allergies. As such, addressing the allergies with avoidance therapy, various nasal sprays, oral medications and allergy shots is the primary modes of therapy. Surgery is the last choice, and is only done when all other treatments are exhausted.
Identification of Nasal Allergies
Nasal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, are a common immune system disorder that affects more than 50 million people in the nation and is seen more commonly in those suffering from chronic sinus infections. Allergies occur when a substance enters the body that the immune system mistakenly believes is an invader and thus mounts an attack. Those who suffer from allergic rhinitis experience an extreme inflammatory response when exposed to these invaders, known as allergens, including inflamed sinuses, headaches, a runny and itchy nose, watery/itchy eyes, sneezing, and rashes.
Allergens can vary from person-to-person; however, there are a number of frequent culprits. One of the most common allergens is pollen. Pollen, which comes from plants, can become airborne and enter the nose, mouth, or other areas, causing an allergic reaction. Dust, mold, animal dander, smoke, and certain kinds of foods can also lead to allergy symptoms. In some cases, this reaction can be serious and may require immediate medical attention.
Diagnosing Allergic Rhinitis through Blood / Skin Testing
Identifying allergies that an individual is sensitive to is important in reducing inflammation to the sinuses. Testing to identify the specific allergen that prompts an allergic response can include a blood and / or skin test. These tests help you and your doctor determine if an allergic reaction can explain the symptoms you are experiencing. If an allergy is detected, a treatment plan is designed for you by Dr. Larian to reduce the day-to-day impact of allergies and other sinus issues. Please contact our practice in Los Angeles to schedule an allergy test with Dr. Larian.
After the environmental factors that are contributing to your allergies are determined, the first method of treatment is avoidance. This may mean minimizing your exposure to dust mites (microscopic organisms that frequently cause allergy symptoms), and mold in your home, especially the bedroom. Using an air-filter or purifier along with dust mite proof mattress and pillow covers help to ease allergy symptoms. If you are unable to sufficiently reduce your exposure to allergens, then Dr. Larian may recommend other treatment methods, depending on your individual case. Medications, including antihistamines, steroid or saline nasal sprays, anti-inflammatories, expectorants, or decongestants, can be used to treat allergies. Dr. Larian can determine which type of medication is most suited for your individual needs.
If other treatment options fail, our allergy treatment and sinus surgery physician in Beverly Hills can provide you with allergy shots. Allergy shots work by injecting small amounts of an allergen into the body, allowing the body to build a tolerance to their presence and reduce or even eliminate its allergic reactions to them over time. Allergy shots are a safe and effective treatment option that helps individuals with allergies find relief from their most bothersome allergy symptoms. To learn more about allergy shots or to schedule an appointment with our allergy treatment and sinus surgery professional, contact our Southern California practice today, serving the Greater Los Angeles area.