The nose is an integral part of our breathing system and, when it is open, fulfills a number of important functions: the air in the nose undergoes a process of particle filtration such as viruses, germs, dust and more, and so the nose supplies the breathing system with protection from these threats. Similarly, the air absorbs moisture and heat, also crucial for the respiratory track and the lungs. The upper part of the nose is responsible for our sense of smell.

The sinuses are air passages in the skull connected to the nose cavity. The complete organ – nose and sinuses – is one space coated with the mucus of the breathing system. By nature of its job (as we all experience every so often), the nose is exposed to ‘attacks’ from various ‘enemies,’ the most common being infections (mostly viral) and allergies. The main expressions of this are runny or blocked noses or a reduction in our smelling abilities. These can last for two-three weeks or much longer (chronic.) In many cases, these symptoms occur because of some congenital tendency or use of particular drugs.

Another problem that can develop is sinusitis – an infection of the sinus cavities characterized by thick mucus and pain in the face, the forehead and headaches. Sinusitis can last from a week to a few months. Its most common causes are personal tendency, allergy and extensive dental treatment. Chronic sinusitis can also express itself through infectious polyps filling the nasal cavity, causing obstruction and a reduction in the sense of smell. For many people, sinusitis causes much suffering and significantly affects their day-to-day lives.

The initial treatment includes an evaluation of the problem. The doctor will normally prescribe drugs treatment at this stage. If needed, you may be sent for an X-ray. If the problem is no better after taking the drugs, your doctor may suggest surgical intervention. Among patients suffering from a prolonged or recurrent problem, we will conduct long-term monitoring (sometimes even for years) and possibly combine both drugs and surgery.

The most common nose operations are straightening the nasal septum (partition) and making the shells (bumps at the side of the nasal cavity) smaller, to improve breathing. There are also endoscopies through the nostrils to treat sinus problems and to remove tumors. Another common surgery is an operation to open a blockage in the tear duct. In a normal situation, our tears emerge from the openings in our eyelashes from a tear duct ending in the nose. An obstructed tear duct expresses itself in continued tearing or mucus discharge from the tear openings in the eyes. Diagnosis and the decision to operate will be made by an eye doctor or tear duct specialist. The operation, performed through the nose, is intended to create a new opening for the tear.

We also treat chronic nasal bleeding, broken noses and distortions in nasal structure.
The Nose and Sinuses Service at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center performs more than 400 nose, sinus and tear duct operations every year.