Pearls of Wisdom

Posts for tag: Sinus

By Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS
January 22, 2014
Category: Allergy

 

 

    Michael Jackson really didn’t sing that one. But we do sing the Central Texas blues around the end of every year due to the clouds of “cedar” pollen billowing up from those trees. Ash Juniper, Cedar’s real name, is not a native Texas species. It was imported to provide wind breaks for the prairie houses of early settlers. Unfortunately for those of us who are allergic, those trees took off and now dominate the landscape in some places. Dense clouds of yellow Cedar pollen and millions of dollars of health care dollars are the result.

Cedar Fever Itchy Eyes | Great Hills Ear, Nose & Throat | Proudly Serving Austin and Central Texas

    Treatment is usually an over-the-counter affair. Antihistamines, particularly the non-sedating ones like loratidine (Claritin®), cetirizine (Zyrtec®), and fexofenadine (Allegra®), are very effective. Anti-itch eye drops (ketotifin) are also available to can keep that symptom at bay. Don’t forget nasal saline irrigation. A Neti-Pot or sinus rinse system can go a long way in controlling your nasal symptoms. However, there are times when these meds are not enough and a trip to your doctor is in order.

     

Allergy Chart for Central Texas | Great Hills ENT Austin, TX

    At Great Hills ENT, we frequently see people in the throes of cedar agony. Treatments are available to stop the symptoms and the complications of severe allergy. Nasal steroids, nasal antihistamines, combo nasal sprays, prescription eye drops, and steroids are usually successful additions to your over-the-counter.  We also partner with many allergists in town if testing and desensitization is on your agenda. 

     Make an appointment see us if Cedar is making your life miserable. We can help!

 

Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS

Dr. Mark Brown is an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist at Great Hills ENT in Austin, TX. Dr. Brown is Board Certified in both Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery as well as Sleep Medicine. Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.

Austin winters are relatively mild compared to some areas of the country. That being said, we are occasionally hit with a big northern cold front that brings a chill to the air and the need to turn on the heat.  When the moisture in the air decreases, your nose, which acts as a humidifier, may dry out.  When these tissues dry, fragile capillary walls may break and a nosebleed occurs.

A nosebleed may simply be an annoying interruption to your day; however, it can become a larger intrusion that could potentially be life-threatening if it is severe or won’t stop. In some rare cases, it can be a sign of a bigger problem (such as high blood pressure, a clotting disorder, or nasal tumor, to name a few).

For a simple nosebleed, squeeze the front of the nose for five minutes (without checking to see if it stops). Usually, holding pressure will stop most nosebleeds. Spraying a nasal decongestant (such as afrin) will help the vessels in the nose constrict. Do not lean your head back (the blood will just go down the back of the throat) or stick anything up it, as tissues and cotton may get stuck. If the bleeding is severe, won’t stop, or you feel light headed, you should go the Emergency Room.

To prevent the nasal tissues from drying out, you may use some Vaseline in the front of the nose to keep it moist, spray nasal saline into the nose, or use a humidifier. If your nosebleeds are severe or recurrent, make an appointment with one of our providers.

 

 

 

Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.  

                           Image source: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303914304579191842804420788

 

By Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS
December 02, 2013
Category: Sinus
Tags: Sinus   Mark Brown   Balloon Sinuplasty   Surgery  

   

 

     Every now and then in medicine a new technique comes along that revolutionizes the field. Imagine a world without cardiac catheterization and repair of coronary disease. How about living in a time without penicillin? These are two of the myriad medical advances that have improved the lives of people worldwide since the 1940s. Balloon sinuplasty is NOT one of those advances despite the advertising.

    Sinus surgery has evolved over the years to the remarkably effective procedure we have today. The introduction of endoscopes brought a level of safety not seen before. Operating in the nose where the sinuses drain to improve the natural function of the nose has resulted in great success for patients. As with any operation there are risks, and some of them are pretty scary. However, in experienced hands those risks are minimized and patient outcomes are excellent.

     Enter the new technique. The balloon has evolved for use in the nose from the aforementioned cardiac catheterization. The idea is that we dilate the sinus opening (instead of physically removing tissue to enlarge it), drainage improves, and chronic infection resolves. Unfortunately, there is no data to show that this is a safer or more effective technique than standard approaches. Is it bad? Probably not. Is it safer? Probably not. Is it marketable? Very much so!

    The marketing strategy has been direct to consumers – “ask your doctor about…” – and to primary care doctors – “send your patients for balloon sinuplasty.” To me that is, at best, medically meddlesome. At worst it may be unethical.

    Balloon sinuplasty is not evil. It is a tool that, when applied correctly, has applicability to modern sinus care. It is not proven to be safer or more effective. Nor has it proven to be unsafe or less effective. It is what it is, a tool. Don’t be taken in by the advertising. Go to a doctor who focuses on patient care, not the marketing of a technique.

    Oh by the way, there is one thing balloon sinuplasty excels at - increasing the price of a procedure.                  

 

 

Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS

Dr. Mark Brown is an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist at Great Hills ENT in Austin, TX. Dr. Brown is Board Certified in both Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery as well as Sleep Medicine. Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.

Image is not a licensed Simpsons™ graphic and is not meant to be an actual representation by  Matt Groening or the Fox Broadcasting Company.

 

By Great Hills ENT
November 25, 2013
Category: Allergy
Tags: Sinus   austin   cedar fever   mountain cedar  

 

Cooler weather and changing of the season brings several things to mind-family gatherings, holiday feasts, and, if you are like the other millions of allergy sufferers…mountain cedar sniffles!

Cedar season begins as early as November, but typically peaks in January.  Interestingly, the pollen that causes “cedar fever” is not actually cedar at all-it is from the Ashe Juniper tree, a small drought-tolerant evergreen shrub native to central Texas. The pollen of this wind-pollinated plant triggers an allergic reaction that then leads to sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, swelling of the nasal passages and increased mucus.

Why do some people have allergies? It is thought to be a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers.  What can you do about it? Well, when the pollen count is high, avoid going outside, use an air purifier, shower before bed,  and take an antihistamine (such as claritin, zyrtec, or allegra). Taking one with a decongestant may help even more.

Other medications that are currently only available by prescription may help-these include nasal steroid sprays (which decrease inflammation in the nose), nasal antihistamines, and even steroid shots. When these medications fail to improve symptoms, allergy evaluation and allergy shots (immunotherapy) are indicated.

To stay up to date on local pollen counts please click here.

                                                                                                                                                                    

 Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.