Recently, an expanded view of inflammatory disease of the nose and paranasal sinuses, an improved understanding of the functional anatomy of this region, and the development of more sophisticated methods for examining inflammation have led to subtle changes in the field of rhinology. Careful review of the literature suggests that a number of disparate disease processes may serve as cofactors leading to the ultimate development of inflammatory nasal/paranasal sinus disease. Evaluation of cellular infiltrates and inflammatory mediators associated with various forms of rhinologic disease reveals significant overlap among many diseases that were previously thought to be separate disease processes. Further, epidemiologic studies suggest that diseases such as allergic rhinitis may be associated with the development of various forms of rhinosinusitis, and its treatment may impact the ultimate treatment for these diseases. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the contemporary rhinologist can no longer rely simply on either technical surgical skills or cognitive nonsurgical skills alone to treat these patients. Instead, to be most effective, rhinologists must synthesize diagnostic and treatment plans, using all aspects of this field of medicine.
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