Sinusitis affects 37 million people each year, making it one of the most common health problems in the United States. It is more prevalent than arthritis and hypertension and has a greater impact on quality of life than diabetes or congestive heart failure. Symptoms may significantly affect people physically, functionally, and emotionally. (1) Sinusitis is usually preceded by a cold, allergy attack or irritation from environmental pollutants. Often, the resulting symptoms, such as nasal pressure and congestion run their course in a few days. If symptoms persist, a bacterial infection or acute sinusitis may develop. If the condition occurs frequently or lasts three months or more, it may be chronic sinusitis. The most frequently used treatments for chronic sinusitis are medical therapies and/or sinus surgery.

The introduction of Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS), a term coined by David W. Kennedy, M.D. in the 80’s, revolutionized the treatment of chronic sinusitis in the United States. (2) Led by a group of renowned academic surgeons centered at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, the sub-speciality of Rhinology was revitalized in the specialty of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (Ear, Nose and Throat). Tremendous progress has been made in Rhinology over the past 20 years, both in our understanding as well as medical and surgical treatments of diseases affecting nose and paranasal sinuses. Sinus surgery no longer involves skin incisions, and in experienced hands, post-operative bleeding and pain are minimal and nasal packing is no longer needed after this outpatient procedure. More recent advances with enhanced fiberoptics, high resolution imaging processing and display, imaging guided surgery with preoperative or real time CT, and introduction of innovative instruments like microdebriders and balloon sinuplastic setups, have greatly improved the surgeons ability to perform not only the routine functional endoscopic sinus surgery, but also the more complex anterior skull base endoscopic procedures like CSF leak repair, orbital and optic nerve decompression, trans-sphenoidal approach to the sella and various skull base tumor resections. 

Publications by Wade W. Han, M.D. on sinusitis and sinus surgery:

  1. Han WW, Gliklich RE. Outcome Research for Chronic Sinusitis. Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery. 1997;5:3-7.
  2. Kennedy DW, Shaman P, Han WW et al. Complications of Ethmoidectomy: a Survey of fellows of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 1994;111:589-99.
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