Sinus FAQ

What are sinuses?
Sinuses are openings in the bones around your nose. Four pairs of sinuses are connected to the nose by small openings. These sinuses are located behind the cheekbones, alongside your nose, and above your eyebrows.

What do the sinuses do?
Humans produce one liter of fluid per day that cleanse the passageways and provide necessary moisture to the lining of each sinus. Tiny little hairs, called cilia, line the sinus membranes and flush the fluid through in a constant carwash-like motion. Under normal conditions, air passes in and out of the sinuses and mucous fluid drains from the sinuses into the nose.

What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinus cavities located on either side of your nose, and between and above your eyes. Inflammation occurs when there is an undrained collection of pus or mucus in one or more of the sinuses. Mucus production increases during inflammation resulting in a drippy, runny nose. This drainage thickens over time. If this mucus cannot drain out of the sinus due to a blockage, bacteria will grow and an infection occurs. This infected sinus is what produces the symptoms of sinusitis.

What does sinus surgery accomplish?
The surgery enlarges the natural opening to the sinuses. Additionally, the procedure should leave as many cilia (tiny little hairs in the sinus), in place as possible. Endoscopic sinus surgery is particularly successful in removing areas of obstruction and allowing the normal flow of mucus.