Sinusitis and Nasal Polyps in Children

Sinusitis and Nasal Polyps in Children

Complete Care for the Full Range of Nasal and Sinus Conditions

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When your child’s symptoms move beyond the congestion and sniffling of a common cold to more serious nasal and sinus infections and concerns, they need specialized care from a team of experts. Duke Children’s pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialists diagnose the cause of your child’s painful symptoms and provide appropriate treatment. Our goal is to help your child feel like himself or herself again.

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Causes of Nasal and Sinus Problems

A chronic cough, facial pain, loud breathing, loss of sense of smell, and discolored mucus can all be signs that your child is experiencing a nasal or sinus condition. If these or other common cold-like symptoms last more than 14 days, a visit to a pediatric ENT -- a doctor who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat -- is recommended.

It may be that allergies or sinusitis, an infection of the sinuses, is to blame. Or your child may have a blockage in his or her nasal passage that is causing a buildup of fluid and pressure. This may due to:

Enlarged Adenoids
Located in the very back of the nose and often called the third tonsil.

Nasal Polyps
Soft growths that develop on the lining of the nasal or sinus passages.

Deviated Septum
Occurs when the wall that separates the nostrils is crooked.

Nasal or Sinus Tumor
In very rare cases.

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Depending on the condition diagnosed, your child’s condition may be treated with antibiotics, antihistamines, or steroid medications. 


If a blockage or mass is suspected, surgery to remove the mass or correct the obstruction may be recommended.

Complex Medical Care

If your child is diagnosed with a nasal or sinus tumor, or their symptoms coincide with a more complex medical concern such as cystic fibrosis, we will coordinate your child’s care with his or her specialists.

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Diagnosing the cause of your child’s symptoms is the first step in determining the most appropriate treatment. Duke pediatric ENT doctors -- also called pediatric otolaryngologists -- use advanced testing techniques if a serious concern is suspected. Testing and procedures may include:

Imaging Tests

Check for fluid, inflammation, obstructions, or masses in the nasal and sinus cavities, 

Nasal Endoscopy

A nasal endoscope -- a thin, flexible, lighted tube -- may be used to see inside your child’s nasal passages.


If a tumor is suspected, your doctor may perform a biopsy. A sample of tissue is removed using a needle, through an endoscope or surgery. The tissue is studied under a microscope to see if cancer is present.

Best Children's Hospital in NC
In addition to being among the best in the country, Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in nine pediatric specialties.
Reviewed: 01/19/2018