During a physical examination for
sinusitis, your doctor inspects the ears,
nose, and throat and checks for any evidence of nasal blockage. The visible
part of the
mucous membrane that lines the nose and sinuses is
observed for swelling and redness. The doctor may press on the
person's face over the sinuses to locate swollen or tender areas.
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The location and intensity of pain or pressure may help your doctor identify which sinuses are involved:
Pain over the bridge of the nose may mean an
infection in the ethmoid sinuses.
Deep pain behind the eyes or
headache in the back of the head may mean an infection in the sphenoidal
Pain above the eyebrow in the morning that gets worse when
bending over may mean an infection in the frontal sinuses.
or pressure in the cheeks may mean an infection in the maxillary
See a picture of the location of the
facial sinuses .
If your doctor can look in the nostril and see thick,
discolored mucus coming out of a sinus opening, this strongly suggests that
sinusitis is present. If the symptoms and physical findings are typical of
acute sinusitis, generally no further examinations or tests are needed to make
Transillumination is a technique that can sometimes be used in adults
to see whether a sinus is completely filled with mucus. During this procedure,
the doctor will shine a very bright light into the mouth. If a maxillary or
frontal sinus on one side is completely dark compared to the sinus on the other
side, sinusitis may be present. This test is not very reliable.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology
August 3, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 03, 2010
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