Evaluating Your Sinuses: Diagnostic Tests

Imaging tests can help your doctor learn more about your sinuses. You may have one or more tests to confirm your diagnosis.

Diagnostic tests

  • A CT scan is a special kind of X-ray. It gives a detailed view of your nose and sinuses. Scans from different angles help show the precise location of blockages. They also serve as “maps” during surgery. In some cases, you may need more than one CT scan before your surgery.

  • Nasal endoscopy is a procedure that uses a slim, flexible tube with a fiberoptic light at the end. This is called an endoscope. The endoscope is inserted into your nose, letting the doctor inspect the inside of your nose. Your mucosa and the openings of your sinuses can be seen. If needed, your doctor can also take samples or biopsies through the endoscope for laboratory examination.

  • Allergy tests may be done to identify what substances you are allergic to.

  • A culture (mucus sample) may be taken from your nose to check for infection.

CT scan of deviated septum and blocked sinus (front view). CT scan of blocked sinus (cross section from above).