Your sinuses are the airspaces within the bones of your face. Their purpose is to warm and moisten air before it reaches your lungs, and they contribute to voice quality – as you well know if you’ve ever had a bad head cold or sinus infection!
The sinuses are lined with tissue known as mucosa, similar to the lining of your nose and mouth. With sinusitis, the mucosa swells and secretes mucus and fluid, which can be yellow or green if you have an infection. Acute sinusitis sometimes follows an upper respiratory infection and is often viral; it will usually resolve without antibiotic treatment. If the infection does not resolve, it may become bacterial, and antibiotics may be necessary.
Chronic sinusitis or acute sinusitis that keeps recurring – lasting more than three months – can be a different story. Allergies, anatomical issues or environmental pollution can cause chronic sinusitis, and sometimes polyps (benign growths coming from the lining) will form and further block airflow. The constant blockage can cause face or tooth pain, headache or eye pain, along with fatigue and bad breath.
The goal of treatment of sinusitis is to open the airflow. Antihistamines or corticosteroids will sometimes work to reduce the mucosal swelling, but if these and other medications are not effective, then Dr. Shaw will discuss procedures to restore natural drainage pathways.
Dr. Shaw’s philosophy towards patient treatment is to make a recommendation to treat his patients as non-invasively and non-surgically as possible. That assumes he can get an “equal outcome” with non-surgical treatment vs. surgical procedures. He will recommend the medical option that makes the most sense for each patient. When it comes to sinus problems, some people require surgery while others can be treated medically.
If allergies and sinus pain are a recurrent issue in your life and you’ve dealt with it year in and year out, you probably need to see a specialist. If you’ve had more than 2-3 sinus infections in a year, evaluation by a qualified ENT is recommended. That doesn’t mean that you need any type of procedure but you do need a thorough evaluation to weigh the options for treatment. It may be as simple as getting a good medical regimen to treat the nose properly.
Dr. Shaw’s goal in treating any patient is to have them return to their normal lives as quickly as possible with a minimum of downtime. Balloon sinuplasty allows this with a minimally invasive treatment option performed in the office.
Since its introduction in 2005, Balloon Sinuplasty™ technology has emerged as a new complement to existing approaches. Balloon Sinuplasty™ has been utilized in over 125,000 patients and 350,000 sinuses. Each day approximately 200 sinus surgeries are being performed with this technology.
An ever-growing trend has developed regarding the technology, the impact it has had on the way ENT physicians treat patients, and the positive outcomes it has had on patient’s lives. Ultimately, the technology may allow for significant symptom relief for patients that allows for faster return to normal daily activities – often in 24 hours.
Balloon Sinuplasty™ is a novel, endoscopic, catheter-based technology utilized in sinus surgery that you can discuss with your doctor. This FDA-cleared technology uses a small, flexible, sinus balloon catheter to open up blocked sinus passageways, restoring normal sinus drainage. When the sinus balloon is inflated, it gently restructures and widens the walls of the passageway while maintaining the integrity of the sinus lining.
The goal of minimally invasive sinus therapy is to open the airways and restore the normal drainage pathways as effectively as possible. A relatively new technique, balloon sinuplasty, takes lessons from the angioplasty technique used on the coronary arteries of the heart – using a tiny balloon to open a partially blocked area.
A very slender tube (catheter) is inserted into the nostril and gently threaded into a sinus drainage opening. When the catheter is properly located, a very small balloon is inflated, pushing the swollen tissues against the bone and resulting in a larger opening. Saline is flushed into the sinus itself to wash out any remaining mucus and pus, and the sinus becomes open and clear. The enlarged opening then helps to keep the sinus open.
While done under anesthesia, this procedure can be repeated, if necessary, with little risk.