Help for those with sinus problems

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
July 7, 2008 4:17:03 PM PDT
Thirty million Americans suffer from sinus problems. But surgery can be risky and painful. Now, a new procedure has sinus sufferers breathing a sigh of relief. Las Vegas little comes between Gary Haman and his golf. He has his 250-yard-drive back in play. But for a while, severe headaches and trouble with balance drove him away.

"Every day, I couldn't smell," he said. "I couldn't breathe through my nose very well. I couldn't taste food."

Now, there is new hope for sinus sufferers, illuminated balloon sinuplasty.

"It's kind of like balloon angioplasty, like they were doing for the heart," said Dr. Ashley Sikand, an otolaryngologist with the Ear, Nose and Throat Consultants of Nevada.

A guide wire with fiber optic cable leads the way, lighting up the sinus for doctors. A tiny catheter with a balloon on the end follows it. When the balloon is in the right place, it's inflated, expanding the sinus opening.

"You're actually moving the bone slightly, and studies have shown that it stays in that position," Dr. Sikand said. "It doesn't re-grow back and close off the sinuses."

The balloon is removed and the patient goes home the same day.

"The opening is enlarged and restores it to normal health," Dr. Sikand said.

The procedure produces the same results as traditional surgery, that would reshape the sinus with less tissue trauma, no incision, little bleeding and faster recovery.

Just a few weeks after surgery, Gary is breathing easier. And he can smell and taste again.

"My head doesn't hurt so blasted bad, so I can focus," he said. "It feels like I'm just one person instead of like seven, which is a good thing."

It's a good thing that's gotten Gary back into the swing of things.

Balloon sinuplasty is good for people who do not respond to antibiotics and other sinus problems. The entire surgery usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

To read a full interview with Dr. Sikand, and for contact information, CLICK HERE.


STORY BY: Dr. Jay Adlersberg