Balloon technique could help those with chronic sinusitis

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Heavy rains and hot temps in SoCal make the perfect storm for people who have chronic sinus infections and congestion to be diagnosed with sinusitis. (KABC)

The combination of heavy rains and hot temperatures means allergy season is coming earlier and more severely in SoCal. That creates a perfect storm for sinusitis, especially for those with chronic sinus infections and congestion.

Reseda resident Jennifer Maza, who works with ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Farhad Sigari, complained of constant hacking coughing and fatigue. Medicine didn't work. Sigari diagnosed her with chronic sinusitis.

"These are people who've had symptoms for more than three months and have tried multiple rounds of antibiotics and they're just not getting better," he said.

Sigari said constant inflammation narrows the passageways. Endoscopic surgery with general anesthesia is the conventional treatment, but more doctors like Sigari are able to perform a less invasive procedure.

The procedure involves a catheter being thread through the nose into the sinuses, inflating a balloon inside to open up the airways.

"If we can just open it up a little bit - that usually makes a big difference," Sigari said.

A CT scan gives doctors a better picture. But one sinus infection doesn't mean balloon therapy is needed. Doctors advise trying nose sprays, antibiotics and nasal washes first.

But if you are a candidate for the therapy, studies show a 95 percent success rate.

Patients can go to work the next day, although congestion may continue for up to a week. People with nasal polyps are not good candidates for the procedure.

Maza said it's been like day and night since she got hers done. She said she breathe better, sleep better and she's less tired.

Many insurances cover the procedure.
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