Most children with sinusitis get better with medicines and other conservative treatments. At Comer Children’s, our otolaryngologists work with the rest of the child’s care team to design an appropriate treatment plan. For many children, a course of antibiotics is all that is needed to treat sinusitis. Nasal sprays and nasal rinses may also help ease symptoms.
When medical treatment fails to improve a child’s sinusitis, surgery may be considered. One option is removing the adenoids, which are part of the immune system. These tissues are located in the back of the nose above the roof of the mouth. Research shows that removing a child’s adenoids can improve sinusitis. This procedure is done through the mouth, and children go home the same day.
Another treatment for pediatric sinusitis is balloon sinuplasty. Although this technique has not been widely available for children, it has been used by the treatment team at Comer Children's for several years. During a balloon sinuplasty, the surgeon inflates a small balloon into the sinus passageways to open them up and restore normal drainage. The surgeon may also wash mucus out of the sinuses during this procedure. It requires general anesthesia and is usually done at the same time as the adenoids are removed. This is often more effective than just removing the adenoids. There is minimal bleeding, and children return home the same day.
Another option, sinus surgery, is more involved but can help children with more severe sinusitis who don’t find relief from other therapies. Research suggests surgery can help 80 percent to 85 percent of children with chronic sinusitis. At Comer Children’s, otolaryngologists perform sinus surgery with guidance from CT scans. This results in a safer, more complete procedure for young patients.