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Needle Puncture and Aspiration of Sinus Contents for Sinusitis

For this test, the sinus cavity is punctured with a needle, and a sample of the sinus contents is obtained. A culture and sensitivity test is often done on the sample to identify the bacteria, virus, or fungus causing the infection and to determine which medicine will be most effective in treating it. Cells taken from the sample may be studied under a microscope. The sinus cavity is then usually flushed with saline solution.

Why It Is Done

Needle puncture and aspiration of the sinus may be needed when a person has repeated sinus infections. More accurate information about which organism is causing the infection may help the doctor and you make better treatment decisions.

Results

The organism causing the infection can be identified. Other tests can determine which antibiotic will be most effective in treating the infection.

What To Think About

This procedure is considered necessary only when standard antibiotics have not worked.

It is usually done by an ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist).

The procedure is somewhat uncomfortable, and in rare cases it can cause the infection to spread. Children and some adults may require medicine to keep them calm and relieve pain. General anesthesia may be needed in some cases.

Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerPatrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerDonald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology
Last RevisedSeptember 12, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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