Written by Jennifer Mackenzie
For chronic sinusitis sufferers, the joy of Spring is often hindered by ongoing inflammation and pain. A new procedure, calledballoon sinuplasty, offers relief.
Sinusitis one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases in the United States, affecting about one in eight adults annually. The overwhelming majority of cases are viral in nature, triggered by allergies or a respiratory virus, although some can be caused by structural problems in the nose.
The paranasal sinuses are air-filled pockets behind the face that lead to the nasal cavity. These sinuses produce mucus, which is your body’s natural defense against dirt particles and germs. Normally, this mucus drains without obstruction, but if the sinuses become inflamed for too long, the mucus can’t properly drain.
Symptoms may then include:
- facial pain or pressure around the eyes, forehead and nose
- a throbbing headache that gets worse when you bend down
- increased and/or thicker nasal discharge
- a cough or sore throat
- nasal congestion that may make it harder to breathe
- a reduced sense of taste or smell
If you’ve suffered from chronic sinusitis for months, or even years, and home remedies (such as saline rinses) and over-the-counter medications haven’t helped, you may want to consider balloon sinuplasty, a safe, minimally invasive procedure that can often be performed in-office and under local anesthesia.
Dr. Myron Yencha, Jr., board-certified Otolaryngologist and the newest member fo the Onslow Ear, Nose and Throat team, is highly skilled in this procedure.
“Most patients return to work in 3-5 days, depending on the type of work they do, and resume full normal activity in 7-10 days after balloon sinuplasty,” Dr. Yencha says. “They appreciate a fast and fairly pain-free recovery.”
Balloon sinuplasty usually takes around one hour to perform. Here’s what happens:
“Using an image guidance system, which is like a ‘GPS’ for your head, we direct a soft flexible wire with a tiny balloon catheter attached to the sinus outflow tract, which is the narrow part that gets blocked when there’s thickening of the lining. Then we slowly inflate the balloon and it gently pushes the tissue aside to open the outflow passage,” Dr. Yencha explains.
The relatively new procedure, approved by the FDA in 2005, was modeled on how doctors open coronary arteries during a balloon angioplasty. Dr. Yencha has been performing balloon sinuplasty since 2007.
“Balloon sinuplasty isn’t appropriate for every case, and we don’t use it for pediatric patients,” Dr. Yencha says, “but it’s a great option for many adults.”
To schedule a consult evaluation, call Onslow Ear, Nose & Throat at (910) 219-3377 today.