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Balloon sinuplasty may be best option for chronic sinusitis

August 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Nearly 37 million Americans suffer from health problems related to stuffy sinuses. But getting relief doesn't necessarily mean having to undergo surgery.

People who have chronic sinus problems often complain of being tired, having headaches and losing their sense of taste or smell. Many would rather suffer or take medications than undergo complicated sinus surgery.

Now an outpatient procedure may provide them with a good alternative for people like Lydia Mason, who has battled sinus infections for years.

"It was difficult for me to breathe. I was always blowing my nose. So, if I was at work, at meetings, I would have to leave sometimes because I was constantly blowing my nose," said Mason who also lost the ability to smell and taste.

"With a sinus infection or even the common cold, fluid will build up in all of your sinuses," said Dr. Janaki Emani, who often hears complaints like the ones from Mason.

With chronic sinusitis, surgery could be the best option. Balloon sinuplasty can now be done on an outpatient basis, meaning less risk and less recovery time.

"It really focuses on less is more, so you go in and you don't physically remove any of the bone. You dilate them and you wash out the sinuses," Emani said.

Emani says balloon sinusplasty may be a good option for those who've suffered from years of sinus congestion and pressure with little relief from medication.

The surgery is non-invasive and uses a balloon catheter to open up blocked sinus passageways.

Mason chose the balloon sinuplasty. She is now enjoying her favorite foods once again.


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