Sinus Polyps

What are Sinus Polyps?

Sinus polyps are soft, painless, noncancerous growths arising from the lining of the nose or sinuses.

Polyps look like little clusters of grapes and are thought to be a result of chronic inflammation due to recurring infection, asthma, allergies, drug sensitivity or certain immune disorders.

Small polyps may not cause any symptoms at all, while larger polyps can block your sinuses completely making it impossible for the sinuses to drain and for air to pass through the nose. When the sinuses are unable to drain, bacteria can build up and sinusitis can result.

Diagnosing Polyps

Polyps can be diagnosed with a nasal endoscopy and a MiniCAT Instant CT Scan. These tools can identify the location of the polyps as well as measure the quantity and severity level of the polyps.

Medical Management

Although we don’t know exactly why and how sinus polyps form, we do know they are associated with inflammation, allergies and often asthma. Medications aimed at reducing inflammation can help reduce the size of polyps, thus improving sinus and nasal symptoms.

  • Saline Irrigation Sprays– Using an over the counter saline spray or irrigation system regularly will cleanse and moisten the sinuses.
  • Nasal Steroid Sprays – These reduce the inflammatory response and are the preferred treatment to reduce the size of nasal polyps in addition to decreasing nasal congestion.
  • Oral Steroids – If nasal steroid sprays are not effective, it may be necessary to take oral steroids. These greatly reduce the size of polyps usually within the first few days. Steroids will not make your polyps go away but will help bring them under control.
  • Allergy Treatment – If you have allergies, antihistamines, other allergy medications and immunotherapy (allergy shots or drops) may be needed.

Surgical Management – Polypectomy

Polyps can be removed by using a small mechanical device or a microdebrider – an instrument that cuts and extracts the soft tissue. Depending on the severity of polyps, this procedure can be performed at the St. Louis Sinus Center or Surgery Center.

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