Diagnosis of Sinusitis

How do doctors diagnose sinusitis?

The diagnosis of sinusitis, the inflammation of the sinuses, is carried out in several steps. Your GP will follow those if you describe the corresponding symptoms.

For the diagnosis of sinusitis a thorough examination is necessary.

Symptoms such as yellow nasal secretions, headaches and fatigue are the first symptoms of sinusitis. By palpation of the face one can determine if moderate pressure results in pain in the sinuses. This is a further indication of sinus inflammation.

Endoscopic Investigations

Via the mouth or the nose an endoscope can be used to take a look at the sinuses. It is possible to see if inflammation exists or if anatomic peculiarities can be the possible cause of sinusitis. If a bacterial infection of the sinuses is suspected, a nasal swab can be taken and examined for germs and pathogens. This test can give important information about which medication will be adequate to treat the sinus infection.

X-rays or ultrasound

A more exact diagnosis of chronic sinusitis is possible via x-ray or ultrasound. Swollen mucosa and inflammation of the sinuses can be recognised as white areas on an x-ray. X-rays also allow further diagnosis about the causes of the chronic sinusitis.


Before an operation is considered (e.g. for a deviated nasal septum), in most cases CT imaging or MRI imaging will be carried out to explore the anatomy in detail. These techniques can tell the surgeon which sinus cavity is inflamed, how far the inflammation extends and what further measures should be taken.

Chronic Sinusitis - Treatment

Which treatments help when suffering from sinusitis? Chronic sinusitis in particular is known to be resistant to therapy, however, taking the right measures can reduce symptoms of chronic sinusitis considerably. [ more ]