The sinuses are the normally hollow, air-filled cavities in the skull, located in the forehead area, behind the eyes and behind the cheek bones. Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the tissues in these areas, and can occur for a variety of reasons, including infection, medications, and anatomical reasons. In addition, chronic, undertreated allergies can ultimately lead to sinusitis.
While both otorhinolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists) and allergists evaluate and treat patients with chronic and recurrent sinusitis, there are differences in their training. Otorhinolaryngologists are surgeons, and are trained in assessing the need for surgery and performing the operation in severe cases of chronic sinusitis. Allergists are not surgeons, but rather can evaluate if there is an allergic reason for the recurrent infection or inflammation, as well as perform testing to evaluate the competence of the immune system. Allergists and otorhinolaryngologists often work together to provide comprehensive care to those with chronic and recurrent sinusitis.