Alabama Nasal & Sinus Center

Alabama Nasal & Sinus Center

Help me, doc! I can't smell!

Help me Doc, I can’t smell!

Loss of your sense of smell is a really troubling problem.  Because of the connection between smell and taste, when one loses their sense of smell they also lose taste sensation, thus severely reducing your enjoyment of food.   There are many reasons someone can lose their sense of smell. 

The most common cause of anosmia, or complete loss of sense of smell, in young adults is head trauma, such as that suffered in car accidents or some high velocity sports injuries.  Another common cause of anosmia/hyposmia is viral upper respiratory infections, like the common cold.  In elderly patients, anosmia, or hyposmia (partial loss of sense of smell) can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. 

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Hearing Aids - When and How. All about access to hearing aids.

Hearing loss and access to care.

margaretThe current healthcare environment is very sensitive to issues of access.  One of the problems we face is understanding what various parties mean when they speak of access.  This problem has recently come to my attention regarding questions of access for patients to hearing aids. 

There are many reasons why those with significant hearing loss are not participants in the current system, including, but not limited to: failure to realize the problem, denial of the problem, perceptions regarding a potentially complex system, and cost. While the AAO-HNS (American Academy of Otolaryngology –Head and Neck Surgery) agrees that efforts must be made to overcome these barriers, we must move forward with careful consideration and analysis relating to what can be done to significantly increase utilization (by easing entry and reducing costs) while retaining necessary protection for patients.

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Balloon sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty

I revisit balloon sinuplasty today because we are still getting a lot of questions about this technology and the role it plays in treatment of sino-nasal disease. 

Studies show safety and efficacy of the balloon in opening sinuses.  However, does a tool that is safe and effective mean it is necessary.  More to the point, does this tool change the indications for surgery on the sinuses?  Furthermore, is it the right tool for your case?   The role of balloon catheter dilation for treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis was recently reviewed in an article in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.  The conclusion of the authors was that current evidence supporting the role of balloon sinuplasty for treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis is incomplete.  Interestingly, the review of several studies found that sinus surgery cases done in the operating room have better quality of life outcomes and longer duration of effect than in-office sinus procedures.  This seems to make some sense in that the surgeon can be more aggressive in the operating room, with the patient under general anesthesia, than she/he can in the office setting with only topical anesthetic.   In addition, the in-office cases are likely patients with lower disease burden than those taken to the operating room and thus the magnitude of improvement is less.   There are certainly many reasons for these findings, but at least it should be a word of caution for the patient and/or surgeon hoping to cure chronic sinus disease with a simple catheter passed into the sinus while the patient is awake in the office, ready to go back to work that afternoon.

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Thanksgiving

Thoughts on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, man! Not a good day to be my pants.

--Kevin James

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Sinus Headache

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Sinusitis and Headaches

What is the most common symptom of a "sinus infection"?  If you are like most people, you most likely think of sinus headache as a primary problem with sinus infection.  Both sinusitis and headaches are very common problems.  Because the sinuses are located in the front of the head, where most headaches occur, there is bound to be a lot of overlap between these two diagnoses.

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