About Nasal Endoscopy

Nasal endoscopy is a simple, in-office procedure that allows the doctor to examine the interior of your nasal passages and the openings to your sinuses. Nasal endoscopies work together with CT scans to help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis. While an endoscopy offers the doctor a view of your nasal cavity, a CT scan offers a view inside your sinuses and of the unique structures within your head. When you put the two images together, it provides the complete information necessary to diagnose your individual problem and determine the best steps to take in your care.

How do I know if I need a nasal endoscopy?
If you have been experiencing sinus problems such as recurrent bacterial sinus infections, difficulty breathing or severe sinus headaches, you may have a sinus condition. Dr. McMahan will discuss these problems with you, along with your complete medical history. The doctor will need to know which medications you have taken to clear your past sinus conditions and how effective they were. The doctor will also ask you about physical conditions, environmental influences, allergies or irritants that may be affecting your sinuses.

Does nasal endoscopy hurt?
No it doesn't. In fact, nasal endoscopy is a quick and painless procedure. After spraying your nasal passages to anesthetize the lining and shrink the tissue, the doctor inserts a very small, thin tube or endoscope into the nasal passages to visualize the internal anatomy of the nose and openings of the sinuses. (A local anesthetic may not be necessary, depending on your nasal anatomy.)

What will the doctor look for?
Through the eyepiece of this instrument, the doctor can see the inside of your nose and nasal passages to check for swelling, polyps, thickened mucus, inflammation, blockages or other problems. As the doctor performs the endoscopy, you will be able to see the same view inside your nasal passages that he does. Our private exam rooms feature monitors that can display the results of your nasal endoscopy, as well as of other diagnostic tests. The doctor will take the time to explain your condition as you view the images on the monitor.

Depending upon the nature of your condition, the endoscopy may be diagnostic and used strictly for visualization purposes. Other times, the scope may be used for surgical purposes to clean an area or remove a polyp or nasal mass. In some instances, the doctor may capture an image in photograph form for further review.

Will my insurance cover this procedure?
Insurance companies always consider diagnostic endoscopies a surgical procedure. We notify you of this in advance so you are not surprised when you receive your explanation of benefits. Your insurance company may also reimburse surgical services at a different rate than an office visit. If you have any questions regarding fees or insurance coverage, please call us.

What if I need sinus surgery?
Today, sinus surgery can also be performed endoscopically -- usually on an outpatient basis. While you are under general anesthesia, the doctor will use the same basic type of scope as he does during a diagnostic endoscopy. With the help of this scope, he can then insert surgical instruments that will treat or remove sinus obstructions. Because the procedure causes little tissue damage, there is minimal pain and swelling and no visible scarring. You will be back to your normal activities and feeling better in no time.