John R. Gilmore, MD
10740 N. Central Expressway
Dallas, TX 75231

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Paranasal Sinuses

Paranasal Sinuses: Their Purpose, How They Function, and How to Drain Your Sinuses

Restore Healthy Airflow in Your Sinuses and Experience Relief from Sinusitis with North Texas Sinusitis Center

Your body is an extremely complex system. When one part of your body stops working, it can cause severe health problems.

In your head, there is a connected system of pockets that allow air to flow through your skull. These spaces are called your sinuses, and they connect to your nose. When the tissue lining your sinuses becomes inflamed or swollen, sinusitis is present. Sinusitis is the inflammation of your sinuses, which wreaks havoc on your ability to breathe out of your nose.

What Are Your Paranasal Sinuses?

Your sinuses form in your nasal cavity during your childhood. Surrounding your nasal cavity are air-filled spaces, which are your paranasal sinuses. Paranasal sinuses explained in detail below, get their name from the bones that contain them. When one or several of your paranasal sinuses are blocked, bacteria collects, which may cause a sinus infection and lead to chronic or recurrent sinusitis.

Your body was designed to allow the air to flow through the channels without any barriers, but when swelling occurs from sinusitis, airflow and the natural draining processes are prohibited.

What Are The Four Paranasal Sinuses?

The four paranasal sinuses include the:

  • Maxillary Sinus

    The largest of your sinuses, your maxillary sinuses are located at your cheekbone, underneath your eyes on both sides of your nose. This cavity begins on each side of your nose near the middle and extends to the outer edge of your eye.

  • Sphenoid Sinus

    The sphenoid sinuses are found behind your eyes. They are positioned back behind the top of your nose.

  • Ethmoid Sinus

    Ethmoid sinuses are located in several small spaces between your eyes in front of your sphenoid sinuses. The ethmoidal sinuses consist of three sinuses, including the anterior (hiatus semilunaris), middle (ethmoid bulla), and posterior (superior meatus).

  • Frontal Sinus

    Near your eyebrows, frontal sinuses are located above the eyes. They extend from the inner edge of your eyebrows up towards your forehead and then out towards the outer edges of your eyebrows.

How Your Sinuses Work

Your sinuses are connected, air-filled pockets that form a system of cavities. The cavities are covered by tissue called mucosa.

Mucus keeps your nose damp and moisturized and helps your nose remain free of an excess of allergens, germs, dust, or other pollutants. In other words, mucus assists in the drainage process.

Your nose is divided into dual cavities by a nasal septum and connects to your sinuses through the ostium. There are turbinates (superior, middle, and inferior) that are placed alongside the naval cavity next to your nose. In between the turbinates is a space called the meatus. Draining occurs from the sinuses through the ostium to the meatus areas.

Blockages can occur in any of the four paranasal sinuses, causing issues to your health. Do you have blocked sinuses?

An ENT Doctor or Otolaryngologist explaining how the sinuses work

Sinus Issues

Your sinuses are part of a complicated system. Due to its complexity, many things can go wrong. Common issues that may arise related to the sinuses and your nasal passages include:

  • Sinusitis
  • Nasal Trauma
  • Sinopulmonary syndromes
  • Deviated Septum

North Texas Sinusitis Center specializes in treating sinus issues, from sinusitis to a deviated septum. Dr. Gilmore begins each new relationship with a patient by learning about them and their health issues by conducting a thorough exam. The next step, if an issue is present, is the diagnosis. Dr. Gilmore then creates the treatment plan and tracks results.

Whatever is causing you pain and anguish, you can trust ENT Dr. Gilmore to get to the bottom of it.

An ENT specializes in treating sinus issues

Blockages in Your Paranasal Sinuses: How and Potential Issues

Inflammation caused by the swelling of your nasal lining, resulting from allergies or an infection, creates a blockage. A blockage restricts normal mucus drainage which would otherwise help your body fight off bacteria from causing an infection. Blockages often lead to sinusitis.

What is Sinusitis?

Did you know that sinusitis affects 37 million people (1) each year? Sinusitis is one of the most common health problems in the U.S. and means that it is more widespread than heart disease and asthma.

Sinusitis is inflammation in the tissue that lines your paranasal sinuses. Swelling, caused by the inflammation, can block your air pathways and prevent air from traveling through your sinuses.

There are multiple types of Sinusitis, including:

  • Acute Sinusitis

    A single occurrence of sinusitis is called acute sinusitis. Acute sinusitis is a sinus infection that lasts from around 7-14 days, or less than 4 weeks. They typically resolve before reaching three weeks.

  • Recurrent Acute Sinusitis

    Having four or more sinus infections in one year is called recurrent acute sinusitis.

    Have you had four or more sinus infections in a single year? When sinus infections appear repeatedly, recurrent acute sinusitis may be the issue you're facing.

    While medication can bring temporary relief, it is not a long-term solution as sinus infections will continue to return until the drainage problem is corrected.

  • Chronic Sinusitis

    Are you suffering from the same sinus infection week after week? When a single sinus infection lasts longer than 12 weeks, chronic sinusitis is present. Similar to recurrent acute sinusitis, a long-term treatment solution is recommended to resolve the disease and provide long-term relief.

  • Allergic Sinusitis

    Your allergies can cause a form of sinusitis. Allergic sinusitis is a sinus infection that is triggered by allergens. From pet dander to mold, what you’re allergic to can cause the inflammation in your sinuses that can lead to sinusitis. One form of long-term treatment for allergic sinusitis is immunotherapy, which you can learn more about here.

  • Pansinusitis

    When your paranasal sinuses are inflamed, sinusitis is the result. Sinusitis can be troublesome to your life and health, costing you money, making work difficult, and more. A severe form of sinusitis is pansinusitis, which occurs when ALL of your paranasal sinuses are obstructed.

Factors Increasing Your Risk of Sinusitis

Previous and current medical conditions may increase your chances of developing chronic sinusitis. If you have any of the following, you may be a greater risk:

  • Allergies
  • Current or past respiratory tract infections. In addition to sinusitis, respiratory tract infections include:

    • Common Cold
    • Tonsillitis
    • Pharyngitis
    • Laryngitis
    • Otitis media
    • Influenza
  • Structural issues in the sinuses
  • A weakened immune system
  • Nasal polyps

    Sinus Infection Symptoms

    In what ways are you suffering from sinusitis?

    Sinusitis symptoms vary based on your body, health, and the cause of your sinusitis. Analyzing your symptoms can provide you and your ENT with important information about your condition. This information can be used to aid in diagnosis and in creating your personalized treatment plan.

    Sinus infection symptoms include the following:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Facial pain and sinus pressure
    • Nasal congestion
    • Loss of your sense of smell
    • Fever
    • Bad breath
    Sinus Infection Symptoms can vary for each person.

    How to Drain Sinuses

    Are you ready to drain your sinuses and experience relief from your sinusitis?

    By clearing your nasal obstruction, you will breathe freely from your nose and allow your body to properly remove toxins and allergens that could otherwise trigger infections and allergic reactions.

    To drain your sinuses and take a break from suffering from your sinusitis, you need to locate the root cause of your sinusitis. Dr. Gilmore can determine this during your appointment at the North Texas Sinusitis Center.

    Endoscopic sinus surgery, is often the recommended path. Surgery can clear a blocked sinus; however, it’s irreversible and removes bone and tissue from your sinuses. Sinus surgery is not your only option.

    Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure that can remove blockages and restore drainage to your sinuses. This in-office procedure involves inserting a small balloon into the necessary area, inflating the balloon to expand the sinus and clear the air pathway, and then removing the balloon. Patients can experience almost instant relief with recovery time being 24-48 hours. Sinus surgery, on the other hand, can take weeks to recover from fully.

    Learn More About Balloon Sinuplasty

    Sinus sufferers come to North Texas Sinusitis Center from Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, Plano, Wichita Falls, and beyond.

    Have you had enough? Want permanent sinus relief?

    Schedule Your Appointment Today!

    References & Resources

    1. 30 million American adults, 12.5%, diagnosed with sinusitis (Centers for Disease Control)