The following are some of the diagnostic tests that are most often ordered to evaluate sinus conditions:
- Blood tests may be ordered to identify underlying conditions such as cystic fibrosis, allergies or viral/bacterial infections. Mucus samples may also be obtained to identify underlying conditions.
- Skin test to identify specific allergens.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan of the sinuses. CT scans obtain images from various angles of the facial area using special X-ray equipment to help identify tumors, cysts, polyps, inflammatory diseases and structural abnormalities.
- Membrane biopsy. This biopsy involves removing tissue and examining it under a microscope.
- Endoscopic nasal evaluation. A flexible tube is inserted into the nasal passages and fiber optic light allows the doctor to see the smallest of abnormalities in the sinuses.
- Sinus puncture using needles to withdraw a small amount of fluid from the sinuses. A bacterial culture is then performed.
- Sinus cultures and sensitivity tissue cultures may be obtained to identify the cause of the inflammation.
- Nasal cultures and smears for biopsy.
Nasal Allergy Evaluation and Treatment
Sinus patients are given state-of-the-art allergy evaluations. The tests usually performed are allergy skin tests and blood tests. Both tests are used to identify the allergen(s) causing the allergic reactions in the sinuses. While there is no cure for allergies, medications may be given to relieve symptoms. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) may also be given to increase tolerance for allergens.
Culture Directed Infection Control/Recurrent Infection Control
In order to avoid antibiotic resistance in sinusitis sufferers, doctors perform a minimally invasive technique to culture mucus and identify the specific type of bacteria causing the infection. The patient is then given a targeted antibiotic that will work against the specific type of bacteria. Since this a targeted treatment, patients do not become resistant to the antibiotic treatment.