Sinus balloon helps patients breath easier

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Nikki Nadkarni arrived at her ENT's office with terrible sinus symptoms like coughing and painful pressure, problems she's had for years.  By the end of her visit however, she would leave with a lot of relief.

"I'm up for anything right now that will keep me from going to the doctor's office," laughed Nadkarni as nurses prepped her for a sinus dilation procedure.

"Sinus infections occur because of inflammation and narrowing," said ENT Dr. Ryan Boone "A combination of a sinus that isn't draining and can't empty itself properly because of inflammation."

Many people suffer from sinus infections which are usually managed with antibiotics.  For more severe problems, patients undergo surgery in which doctors can remove some of the paper thin bones in the sinus cavity to create more space and relieve pressure.

"But for some people their structural issues are minimal enough that that feels like too much to put them in. Yet, medical management allergy management isn't getting them where they need to be," said Boone.

For those in between patients, a sinus balloon dilation maybe the ticket to easier breathing.  This technique inserts a tiny balloon in the sinus cavity which is inflated to create more space.

Doctors say the biggest advantage to the procedure is that is done in the office in about 15 minutes.

The device looks something like a long thin wire with a flexible hook on the end.

"It's a very simple device that simply advances the balloon into the proper sinus cavity," explained Entellus Medical representative Scott Naquin. "It sort of revolutionized the way balloons were used in sinus procedure."

Entellus Medical is the company that makes the sinus balloon device.

Recovery time is minimal, and the results last for years.

"Because it doesn't remove tissue, remove bone there's not any significant risk for problems like bleeding and that kind of stuff," said Boone.

ENTs have been using the balloon procedure for about ten years in addition to traditional sinus surgery.

Your doctor can tell you the best way to manage any sinus problems.   

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.