Sinusitis Specialist

Lexington ENT & Allergy

Alexa Lessow, MD

Otolaryngology located in Upper East Side, New York, NY

When nasal congestion and sinus pain last longer than two weeks, chances are you have chronic sinusitis that needs specialized care from Alexa Lessow, MD, at Lexington ENT & Allergy on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Dr. Lessow begins sinusitis treatment with conservative therapies, but when your symptoms persist, you can rely on her exceptional skills and experience in performing in-office procedures that deliver long-lasting relief. If you need help for sinusitis, call the office in New York City or book an appointment online.

Sinusitis Q & A

What causes sinusitis?

Sinusitis develops when the sinus lining becomes inflamed and swollen. The swelling blocks the sinus opening, which traps mucus inside the sinus and causes an infection.

The top causes of sinusitis are allergies, viruses, and bacteria. Problems inside your nose can also lead to sinusitis. For example, polyps, enlarged turbinates, or a deviated septum may block the sinus openings and stop mucus from draining.

When do I have chronic sinusitis?

A typical case of sinusitis heals within four weeks. In some cases, the sinuses stay inflamed even after an acute infection heals, causing ongoing symptoms. You have chronic sinusitis when your symptoms last 12 weeks or longer.

What symptoms develop due to sinusitis?

The hallmark symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Congested nose
  • Thick discharge, typically green or yellow
  • Pain or pressure around your sinuses
  • Decreased sense of smell

You may also experience classic symptoms such as:

  • Cough
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Postnasal drip

When a virus triggers your sinus infection, you may develop a low-grade fever.

How is sinusitis treated?

Your treatment depends on whether your sinusitis is acute or chronic, and on the underlying cause. Treatment for acute sinusitis focuses on relieving your symptoms while you wait for the viral infection to heal.

When allergies cause your sinusitis, Dr. Lessow performs allergy tests and creates a treatment plan that may include medications to relieve your symptoms or immunotherapy. Chronic sinusitis that’s not related to allergies is initially treated with medications to reduce inflammation. 

Some patients with chronic sinusitis need an in-office CT scan to identify problems inside their nasal passages and sinuses. If your symptoms persist, Dr. Lessow may recommend a minimally invasive procedure.

What minimally invasive procedures treat chronic sinusitis?

Dr. Lessow specializes in several in-office procedures for chronic sinusitis, including:

Sinus balloon dilation (balloon sinuplasty)

During balloon sinuplasty, Dr. Lessow inserts a flexible balloon catheter through a nostril, gently guides it into the sinus opening, and inflates the balloon. The balloon opens the sinus, allowing her to clean out the infection and mucus.

Pressure from the inflated balloon restructures the sinus opening. As a result, it stays open after the balloon is removed and normal sinus drainage is restored.

Endoscopic sinus surgery

Dr. Lessow performs endoscopic sinus surgery using a narrow instrument equipped with a camera and light. During an endoscopy, she improves sinus drainage by removing blockages such as nasal polyps and enlarged turbinates or repairing a deviated septum.

If you have ongoing nasal congestion, call Lexington ENT & Allergy or book an appointment online.