Rhinosinusitis Seattle

Inflammation, congestion, and pain in the face can have many causes. Among the most common causes of these symptoms include infections and disorders of the sinuses and nasal cavities. The sinuses are air-filled, hollow cavities located in the face that produce mucus. This mucus protects the nasal passages from infection and pollutants. Occasionally, one or more of the sinuses may become infected or irritated, causing inflammation that leads to uncomfortable symptoms. Rhinosinusitis is among one of the most common conditions associated with sinuses. Dr. David Santos of Sinusitis In Seattle offers the best treatment for rhinosinusitis Seattle offers.


Rhinosinusitis is a condition in which the tissue of the sinuses and nasal passages becomes inflamed. This can cause several symptoms that disrupt daily life. Usually, rhinosinusitis occurs due to a viral infection that will resolve within a couple of weeks. However, other times, rhinosinusitis may require other types of treatment and therapies.

Rhinosinusitis refers to “rhinitis” and “sinusitis.” Rhinitis is inflammation of the nasal passages and sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses. Due to their closeness and because the sinuses drain into the nose, the two conditions often occur together.

Dr. Santos can evaluate your rhinosinusitis symptoms and determine the best treatment for your rhinosinusitis in Seattle. As an ENT doctor and surgeon, Dr. Santos will take a comprehensive approach to alleviate rhinosinusitis symptoms.


Rhinosinusitis features many symptoms. Some of these symptoms are similar to the cold or flu, but rhinosinusitis typically comes with a few notable symptoms. Possible symptoms include:

  • Fever (usually only in acute presentations)
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Postnasal drip
  • Facial swelling
  • Loss or reduction in smell and taste
  • Facial pain
  • Bad breath
  • Toothache
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue


Many conditions, environments, and situations can make you susceptible to rhinosinusitis. Some include temporary conditions such as having a cold, others may be congenital, or chronic. If you have one of these conditions, Dr. Santos will want to know about your history and if you have had sinus problems before. Examples of conditions that may contribute to a higher likelihood of developing rhinosinusitis include:

  • Nasal polyps
  • Hay fever
  • Allergies
  • Deviated septum
  • Respiratory infections such as the cold, flu, or bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Other autoimmune diseases
  • Living in a highly polluted environment
  • Regular exposure to cigarette smoke (including smoking or secondhand smoke)
  • Infected tooth
  • Sensitivity to aspirin


Rhinosinusitis can be hard to differentiate because they almost always occur together. In generalized terms, sinusitis refers to inflammation of the sinuses. Rhinosinusitis, therefore, refers to inflammation of the nasal cavities and sinuses.

In most cases of sinusitis, the nose will become clogged or runny. This buildup of mucus in the nasal cavities often irritates it. This causes the passageways of the nose to also become inflamed. Rhinitis–inflammation of the inside of the nose–can occur without sinusitis. Usually, this is due to a cold or allergies.

Treatment for sinusitis and rhinosinusitis are virtually the same. Nasal irrigation will help both conditions as will most treatments for sinusitis. Much like sinusitis, rhinosinusitis symptoms can become chronic and require specialist treatment.



Diagnosis And Identification

The first step in treating your Seattle rhinosinusitis is to identify the possible cause. Not every case of rhinosinusitis will have an identifiable and understandable cause. If Dr. Santos can determine it, this can make his treatment plan more effective. To do this, you will first meet with Dr. Santos for a consultation. 

At this consultation, Dr. Santos will review your medical history which may provide clues into the cause of your chronic rhinosinusitis. He may also order certain tests or screenings such as allergy testing or a CT scan. This can identify possible anatomical abnormalities or respiratory problems that may contribute to your rhinosinusitis. 

After identifying a possible cause, Dr. Santos will recommend a treatment plan. Typically, if you have not tried non-surgical treatments, he will recommend this before surgery. However, if you have tried all viable non-surgical therapies and see no improvement, Dr. Santos may determine that you are a good candidate for sinus surgery in Seattle.

Non-Surgical Therapies

Before coming to see Dr. Santos, you will likely have tried some non-surgical treatments and remedies for rhinosinusitis. Basic home remedies and non-surgical therapies include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Sinus irrigation
  • Nasal sprays
  • Oral steroids

Depending on the cause of your rhinosinusitis, Dr. Santos may recommend other non-surgical therapies. He may also prescribe more potent types of treatment. Other types of treatments for Seattle rhinosinusitis are:

  • Allergy shots
  • Steroid injections
  • Anti-fungal medications
  • Allergy medications (usually decongestants and antihistamines)
  • Leukotriene inhibitors

Surgical Solutions

If your rhinosinusitis symptoms become chronic and do not respond to treatment, surgery may become the best treatment. Generally, rhinosinusitis is treated with sinus surgery. This drains the clogged sinuses which alleviates and relieves symptoms. In some cases, sinus surgery may widen the sinuses to promote proper function and draining following surgery.

Dr. Santos most commonly performs three types of sinus surgery: endoscopic, balloon, and stealth sinus surgery. All three sinus surgeries access the sinuses through the nostrils and seldom require external incisions. 

Endoscopic and stealth sinus surgery use imaging technologies (an endoscope and a CT scan, respectively) to guide a thin tube into the nasal cavity and the afflicted sinuses. Dr. Santos will then drain the sinuses and clear away inflammation. 

Balloon sinus surgery uses the same technique to access the sinuses. However, then Dr. Santos will inflate a surgical balloon to expand the sizes. This drains them and allows Dr. Santos to remove inflammation. This advanced technique is slowly becoming the gold standard of sinus surgery in Seattle.

During a consultation, Dr. Santos can evaluate if he believes sinus surgery will benefit you. If he does, Dr. Santos will put together a surgical plan specially catered to your needs and health. He focuses on performing intentional and effective sinus surgery.


How Long Does Rhinosinusitis Last?

Most cases of rhinosinusitis last around ten days. Similar to traditional sinusitis, the symptoms of viral rhinosinusitis should go away on their own within two weeks. If they do not, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Generally, in the majority of cases, people will no longer suffer symptoms after a month. 

In rarer cases, rhinosinusitis may become subacute or chronic. This means that it lasts more than one month, and with chronic sinusitis, more than three months. When this happens, specialist treatment or surgery may be necessary to relieve symptoms.

What Is Perennial Rhinosinusitis?

Perennial rhinosinusitis is a condition associated with allergies. With this condition, your nose and sinuses may be congested for at least an hour every day. This can cause a runny and stuffy nose year round. This can eventually lead to chronic rhinosinusitis, especially if the cause of the symptoms is not addressed. Usually, this is caused by allergies to common everyday things such as dust and pet dander. If these allergens are avoided or treated, this can usually alleviate perennial rhinosinusitis.

How Can I Know If My Infection Is Viral Or Bacterial?

Without invasive testing unnecessary for an acute infection, it is not easy to know whether your infection is caused by a virus or bacteria. Normally, your doctor will wait to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, it was likely a virus. However, if they do not, or they worsen after around ten days, you may have a bacterial rhinosinusitis infection. Your doctor will then likely prescribe antibiotics.

Can You Have Sinusitis Without Rhinosinusitis?

Yes, although this is rare. The symptoms associated with sinusitis, such as congestion and a runny nose, generally irritate the nasal passages. This then causes them to become inflamed.

Is Rhinosinusitis The Same As Sinusitis?

Not exactly, since each condition can occur independently. However, some experts prefer the term “rhinosinusitis” over “sinusitis” since the two often occur together. It also is more accurate of the full range and extent of a patient’s symptoms.

The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Most patients with sinusitis will also have nasal inflammation due to mucus dripping from the sinuses and into the nasal cavities. Dr. Santos can treat both conditions concurrently.


Dr. David Santos is an experienced ENT surgeon who has treated sinus conditions in the Seattle area for decades. As a board certified otolaryngologist, Dr. Santos is among one of the most qualified sinus surgeons in the Pacific Northwest. Along with his experience and expertise as a sinus surgeon, Dr. Santos also performs facial plastic surgery. This gives him a deep knowledge and understanding of facial anatomy that makes him a precise sinus surgeon.

Sinusitis In Seattle is a premier sinus treatment office and ambulatory surgery center. Located just south of Seattle, Sinusitis In Seattle offers the best treatment for rhinosinusitis Seattle offers. 

To learn more and schedule a consultation, call us at 206-242-3696. You can also contact us online.

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