The sinuses are a series of inter-connected, hollowed spaces in the skull. Their walls are lined with mucus-secreting membranes. Small hairs sweep the mucus out of the sinuses so it can drain out through your nose. These mucus membranes may become infected or inflamed because of a cold or allergies, and can swell up and block the nasal passages so that fluid from the sinuses can’t drain. Buildup of fluid in the sinuses causes pressure and pain. Doctors call this sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis comes on quickly and then leaves. With chronic sinusitis, people have symptoms virtually all the time, and take many courses of medications such as antibiotics to treat the inflammation. Severe sinusitis may require surgical opening of the passageways with rigid steel instruments placed up through the nostril to remove bone and tissue blocking the drainage.
Recently, a new, less invasive technology called Balloon Sinuplasty has been introduced. Using this technology a balloon catheter is delivered to the blocked passageway, and is gently inflated, widening the opening of the passageway and thus allowing drainage and relief from the pain and pressure.