What is Sinusitis?

The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities in the front of the skull, behind the cheekbones and forehead. The nose and sinuses are lined with mucous membranes that warm and moisturise the air entering the nose before passing it into the lungs. It also makes mucus, which traps and cleans dust and other small particles.

Sinusitis is an infection of the mucous membrane which becomes inflamed and swollen.

Symptoms can vary, but severe sinusitis can be very painful, and chronic sinusitis is an episode that lasts more than three months.

Frequently asked questions

Acute or short-term sinusitis is usually caused by an underlying viral infection such as a cold or flu. Chronic sinusitis can be linked to allergies, a blockage of the nasal cavities such as nasal polyps, asthma, smoking or trauma to the nose or cheeks.

Sinusitis can be very painful, with intense pressure in the forehead, cheeks, between and behind your eyes and even in the jaw and cheeks.

Other sinusitis symptoms can include:

  • a blocked or stuffy nose
  • green or yellow discharge coming from your nose
  • reduced sense of smell
  • fever
  • a cough
  • bad breath
  • toothache
  • ear congestion

Depending on the cause, you may be prescribed medication and advised to avoid allergy triggers. Medical treatment may include nasal steroid sprays or longer courses of antibiotics. If conservative treatment fails, Mr Annakan Navaratnam may recommend endoscopic sinus surgery to widen the passages between the sinus and your nose. For some particularly difficult to treat cases of sinusitis, medications that target specific parts of the immune system called biologics can be used to successfully manage sinusitis.

Mr Annakan Navaratnam


Mr Annakan Navaratnam

Annakan Navaratnam is Consultant Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Surgeon whose private practice is based at Harrow and One Welbeck Hospital in Central London and The Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow. In his NHS practice, he works at Royal National ENT Hospital, University College London Hospital (UCLH) and is an honorary consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

He has a subspeciality interest in rhinology and facial plastic surgery with particular expertise in septorhinoplasty and nose reshaping surgery.

Annakan is excellently placed to manage general adult and paediatric ENT presentations and in particular is able to assess and treat complex problems related to the form and function of the nose. This includes endonasal (scarless) rhinoplasty, revision septorhinoplasty as well as advanced endoscopic sinus surgery.