Chronic sinusitis can make you feel miserable. Its a big problem for a lot of people, affecting 37 million individuals per year. Medications may or may not be effective at controlling symptoms, which include fatigue, facial pain and pressure, postnasal drip and nasal congestion. Studies suggest that despite receiving maximal medical treatment, up to 60% of people still suffer from sinus symptoms and a reduced quality of life.
While endoscopic sinus surgery is minimally invasive and safe, it still requires general anesthesia. I therefore offer a newer in-office treatment for helping people who suffer from chronic sinusitis. Its called Balloon Sinuplasty. Under local anesthesia in the office I place a small balloon catheter in the patient’s nose. I then inflate the balloon and open the sinuses gently yet effectively. I then rinse out the sinus using saline which helps wash out any tenacious bacteria lodged in the sinus lining. No sedation is necessary. Patients undergoing this treatment usually can return to work in the next 24-48 hours.
The great thing about this procedure is that unlike traditional sinus surgery, it does not disrupt the natural sinus lining. As a result, the healing process is more comfortable and scarring is much less likely to occur. We have some helpful information including a video demonstration of the procedure in the Expertise & Services section of our website. Just click on Balloon Sinuplasty.
An allergy is defined as an exaggerated or inappropriate reactions of the immune system, medically described as hypersensitivity to specific substances. Allergies are induced in different areas of the body, essentially the respiratory system (e.g. hay fever, asthma), gastro-intestinal tract (e.g. peanut allergies) or the skin (e.g. contact dermatitis).
I grew up allergic to cats. In the beginning, my symptoms weren’t so bad – just some occasional sneezing. But as I got into my late teens I started having serious issues with my aunt and uncle’s cats. Whenever I was at their house I would start wheezing and my eyes would itch. I’d have to be sure to use my inhaler and take an antihistamine before I even stepped inside their home. Now that I’m on sublingual immunotherapy, I can be around cats without taking additional medications. That is not to say that I never sneeze when I’m in close quarters with cats but I certainly don’t have to worry about the miserable symptoms I once had.
We have several patients in our practice who have had similar problems to mine. Some of them have become romantically involved with or even married to a cat owner. Its very satisfying to see how their lives improved once they started the allergy drops. Again, not every single symptom is relieved with the drops and not every single patient responds the same way, but most people do extremely well. People who live with cats are often afraid to have an allergy test because they think the only way to deal with the situation would be to get rid of their pet. Fortunately, that’s no longer true.
When I was growing up my dad had to go to his doctor’s office for weekly allergy shots. Getting the shots was the price he paid to help relieve his severe allergy symptoms which included sneezing attacks and wheezing. Those shots made him feel so much better that it seemed to me he loved getting them. Despite Dad’s love for allergy shots, the idea never really appealed to me. True, he benefited from the treatment because he built up immunity to many things in the environment that were making him miserable, but I never saw the fun in getting stuck with a needle.
In my practice as an Ears, Nose and Throat doctor, I attend a lot of professional conferences. It was at these conferences – where experts on allergy treatment go to keep up to date on the latest treatment options – that I learned about treating allergy patients without shots. In Europe, there has been a trend toward treating patients with drops under the tongue instead of shots. The reason is simple. Drops provide a safer, more comfortable way of helping patients reduce or eliminate their hyper-reactivity to grasses, mold or whatever makes them suffer from allergy attacks. With drops, patients can treat themselves at home and administer the drops themselves. I have begun to use this excellent treatment option for the many patients in my practice who want to feel better but don’t want to travel to an office and get a shot in the arm to do so.