Treating Chronic Sinusitis

The Challenge: ProvidingProviding long-term effective treatment for chronic sinusitis patients, including those who have undergone technically successful surgery, intensive antibiotics, powerful antifungals, and other medical therapies.

The Cause: Various factors can contribute to the initial inflammatory event that leads to chronic sinusitis. For many patients, standard medical and surgical treatments are effective. But some patients will continue having bouts of infection, despite repeated antibiotics, steroids, surgeries, and other sinusitis treatments. Numerous studies implicate biofilms as contributing agents to chronic sinusitis. Traditional medical and surgical therapies may not provide effective long-term sinusitis treatment in these cases.2-12

Bacterial Biofilms: The role of bacterial biofilms has been well-documented in dental caries and periodontal disease, as well as musculoskeletal infections, native valve endocarditis, cystic fibrosis pneumonia, and other diseases.3 Numerous recent studies have identified the presence of bacterial biofilms in patients with recalcitrant sinusitis.5, 7-10

A biofilm is a self-sustaining structural community of bacteria that is significantly different from normal planktonic bacteria in several ways, including:

  • A biofilm produces and is encased in a slimy extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) that helps ensure its survival
  • Biofilms attach to a hospitable surface and grow very slowly, unlike planktonic bacteria that reproduce rapidly and are highly mobile
  • Bacteria in biofilms have dramatically different gene expression than their planktonic counterparts12

Why Traditional Treatments Sometimes Aren't Enough

Last update: 1 October 2009

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