Although grammatically and medically incorrect…all of us ENT doctors know “I have sinus” is one of the most common complaints we are presented with in the clinic. Typically, the patient has symptoms of runny nose and congestion and, although it likely is not always the sinuses causing these symptoms, THESE SYMPTOMS ARE VERY DISTRESSING TO VERY MANY PATIENTS!
The good news is we have some very good technology in the past decade that is now giving patients improvement in their symptoms! Historically, patients have exhausted their medical options with multiple antibiotics, nasal sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants. Certainly, these are the appropriate first line treatments for many patients with sinusitis(infection) and/or rhinitis (inflammation of nose linings). Unfortunately for many patients these treatments do not fully control their symptoms and they seeking other solutions.
Nasal surgery and/or endoscopic sinus surgery in the operating room is still the right choice for many patients with significant disease. These procedures have been refined from the “old days” with less incisions, less packing , less surgical time and less recovery. The horror stories about people having six feet of packing in their nose for a week straight have kept many a patient from seeking these surgical options and the good news is those days are gone. Now there is an additional alternative for many patients for their drippy/congested nose, cough, and sinus pressure! In office nasal and sinus procedures are here to stay. Not gimmicks or marketing ploys but for the properly selected patients…these procedures are giving great results.
Balloon sinus surgery is one of these new technologies that can offer patients relief with a minimally invasive procedure right in the office. The concept is the same as balloon dilation of narrowed coronary arteries of the heart, stretching the natural openings to give better function and alleviating a more involved procedure. The procedure involves local anesthetic with or without sedation and with the lighted telescopes in the nose a small catheter is inserted in the sinus opening and stretched allowing better aeration and drainage. This allows clearance of infection and relieves pressure for many patients! Endoscopic balloon sinus surgery can be done in conjunction with fixing a deviated septum which also can now be improved with balloon procedure!
Some other procedures we offer at Advanced Specialty Associates is to treat chronic rhinitis. The chronic runny or stuffy nose related to allergic or non-allergy related rhinitis. With the advent of Rhinaer and Clarifix procedure, over 70% of our patients are finding significant relief of their symptoms they have been suffering with for years. This procedure, which can be performed under local anesthetic and telescopes in the office, takes less than 45 minutes with minimal discomfort and no downtime for patients. The simplicity of treating the nerve that causes the nose to secret mucus and cause congestion is genius!
The nice thing about both of these procedures is there aren’t many drawbacks. Other than the time to go through the procedure, patients are able to carry on with exercise and work that same week! A consult, exam and often CT scan of sinuses can all be performed in a consult visit to determine what is causing the patients symptoms. We as physicians are very happy to have these additional tools in our chest making many patients VERY HAPPY!
If you’re having constant runny nose or congestion, call our office to see if any of these sinus procedures could be right for you! 218-454-8888