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Sinus Complications in Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inheritable disease caused by an altered gene. The specific gene responsible for CF was identified in 1989. Since that time, more than 1,500 patients and DNA sequence variations have been identified. 

It is well known that patients with CF will often have significant nasal polyps and/or sinus disease. The problem with this significant sinus disease is it may often harbor harmful bacteria that can repeatedly infect the patient’s lungs. Chronic sinus disease also is a common source for intractable headaches, which will often debilitate the CF patient. 

Changes in CF care since the early 1980s have contributed to substantial improvements in patient’s survival and quality of life. Both the North Shore-LIJ Adult Hospital and the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York have a cystic fibrosis center. Dr. Shikowitz has been working with both adults and children with CF for more than 20 years. The philosophy has been to resist performing surgery on these patients unless absolutely necessary. However, there are times when sinus conditions makes life impossible or when there is danger of lung infection and reduced pulmonary status, making surgery necessary.

With the new minimally invasive techniques and endoscopic CT guidance abilities, the surgery has become faster, more effective and better tolerated. Our staff has great expertise with CF patients, following many patients from childhood to adulthood with great success.