Balloon Sinuplasty — a Breakthrough for Chronic Sinus Infections

A clinically proven, minimally invasive technology for treating chronic sinus inflammation called Balloon Sinuplasty is now available at Ingalls. Board-certified ear, nose and throat specialist and head and neck surgeon Natan Scher, M.D., is one of the first physicians in the area to offer the new technology, which uses a small catheter and balloon to quickly open and expand blocked sinuses.

“Sinusitis is one of the most common chronic health problems in the united States,” Dr. Scher explained. “Patients suffer headaches, congestion, fatigue and other symptoms, significantly impacting their physical, functional and emotional quality of life.”

Until recently, sinusitis patients were limited to two treatment options: medication such as antibiotics and topical nasal steroids, or conventional sinus surgery. medical therapy helps 75 to 80 percent of chronic sinus patients, but is inadequate for the rest. For them, sinus surgery is the best option. But because surgery involves painful bone and tissue removal, many patients opt to live with chronic sinus conditions instead.

“Balloon Sinuplasty represents a real breakthrough in endoscopic sinus surgery,” Dr. Scher said.

During the procedure, a small, flexible balloon catheter is placed through a nostril into the blocked sinus passageway. The balloon is then inflated to gently restructure and open the sinus passageway, restoring normal sinus drainage and function. Sinuplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia.

“In most cases, Balloon Sinuplasty can be done without removing any tissue or bone, which means faster recovery times and less discomfort after the procedure. In fact, many of my patients have been able to return to normal activities within 24 hours and have had significant improvement with their sinus symptoms.”

Fifteen-year-old Nicole mikulich of mokena is evidence of that.

The high school freshman, who’s also a talented flute player, was plagued with chronic sinus infections last fall that cost her nearly a dozen sick days from school and several missed band practices.

Although mikulich battled seasonal hay fever every year, last year’s bout was severe, with repeated, painful sinus infections. marching band practice outside made it even worse.

“I would get really bad headaches. It was like a sharp, stabbing pain in my forehead,” she recalls. “I would get dizzy, too. everything would just spin.”

Antibiotics did little to ease the condition. eventually she was referred to Dr. Scher, who recommended the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure.

Mikulich had the procedure in December, and two weeks later joined her school marching band at their Fiesta Bowl performance in Phoenix, Ariz.

“I’m doing great,” she adds.

“Nicole used to suffer horrible sinus infections,” added her mother, Sandy. “We’re thrilled that she’s doing so much better and that she didn’t have to miss her band performance at the Fiesta Bowl.”

The sinuplasty procedure has a 96 percent success rate in eligible patients.

“If you suffer from sinusitis, and medication alone has not been effective in relieving your symptoms, you may be a candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty,” Dr. Scher added. Talk to your doctor, or for a physician referral, call 1.800.221.2199.

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