Sinusitis and Sinus Pain

The sinuses are air-filled cavities located behind the forehead, nose, and cheeks. Many people suffer from chronic sinus pain or pressure, as well as recurrent sinus infections. In some cases, this is the result, in part, of bacterial biofilms formed in the nose. In others, there is an anatomic obstruction at the opening of the sinuses that block the sinuses from filling with air or draining appropriately. Obstructed sinuses make the perfect environment for a bacterial infection to develop, as air cannot circulate and the secretions that are produced cannot be eliminated as usual.

Symptoms of Sinusitis

  • Pain in the sinuses
  • Decrease or loss of smell/taste
  • Fever
  • Congestion
  • Headache
  • Pressure/tenderness in the face
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Post-nasal drip

What Causes Sinusitis?

Many individuals are pre-disposed to sinusitis. Those who have allergic rhinitis, certain anatomic abnormalities, or who are exposed to smoke (cigarette or otherwise), fall into the pre-disposed category. However, the majority of sinusitis cases (98%) occur due to bacterial or viral infection. Sinusitis may also be caused by fungal disease. 

Types of Sinusitis 

  • Acute Sinusitis: Lasts up to four weeks
  • Subacute Sinusitis: Lasts 4-12 weeks
  • Chronic Sinusitis: Lasts more than 12 weeks, continuing for months or years
  • Recurrent Sinusitis: Patient experiences several attacks within one year

How is Sinusitis Diagnosed?

Dr. Reitzen will go over your medical history and symptoms. She will also conduct a nasal exam. This usually involves the use of an endoscope (a long, thin probe with a camera on the end) or a CT scan. Once the presence of sinusitis has been confirmed, Dr. Reitzen can walk you through your options to create your treatment plan. 

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“Dr. Reitzen was very friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. Would highly recommend my friends and family to see her!” 

Eric L.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Another option for sinusitis treatment is a balloon sinuplasty. This minimally invasive procedure is one of Dr. Shari Reitzen’s main services at her Upper East Side practice, and has shown excellent results in relieving the symptoms of sinusitis. 

In a balloon sinuplasty, a soft catheter with an inflatable “balloon” at the tip is utilized to open the sinus passageways that are blocked and drain built-up mucous.

As the balloon catheter inflates, it widens the walls of the sinus passageway without damaging the sinus lining. Up to 95% of patients report a significant improvement with the balloon sinuplasty, and no general anesthesia is required. In fact, it can be done in the office. In most cases a balloon sinuplasty is permanent, but some patients may have more severe symptoms or conditions that require a repeat procedure.  

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Dr. Reitzen: Sinusitis Specialist on the Upper East Side

With a strong focus on restoring optimal function, Shari Reitzen, MD is a double board-certified female reconstructive/facial plastic surgeon and ENT doctor serving Tribeca and Manhattan’s Upper East Side. If you’re tired of missing work or school due to sinusitis — or simply tired of living with it altogether — Dr. Reitzen can help. she puts her patients first and closely listens to achieve their desired results. Her goal is to help you regain nasal function and breathe free and easy. She will work with you to find a solution. If you’re ready to fight sinusitis with Dr. Reitzen, make an appointment with us today and discover your treatment options.


What might happen if infected sinuses are not treated?

Is sinus surgery covered by insurance?

What are biofilms?

How will I know if surgery or a balloon sinuplasty is right for me?

What might happen if infected sinuses are not treated?

Besides causing unnecessary pain, untreated sinusitis can lead to meningitis, as well as brain abscess and infection of the bone or bone marrow. This is rare, but possible.

Is sinus surgery covered by insurance?

Most insurance companies do cover the cost of nasal surgery, but we advise contacting your insurance company to double-check.

What are biofilms?

Biofilms are groups of bacteria that can be resistant to antibiotics. Research has suggested that biofilms can cause the immune system to react too strongly, causing the symptoms of sinusitis.

How will I know if surgery or a balloon sinuplasty is right for me?

After evaluating your specific case and symptoms, Dr. Reitzen will be able to determine the appropriate procedure for you.

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