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Balloon Sinuplasty Becoming More Popular in U.S. for Sinusitis Sufferers

A new sinusitis surgical procedure that was successfully trialed at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia is now being used in the United States to help bring an end of blocked noses for millions of Americans who suffer from sinusitis. The procedure is known as Balloon Sinuplasty and involves a minimally invasive technique for opening up blocked sinus passages and reduces the need for surgeons to remove tissue or bone.

Dr. Anthony P. Sertich II of San Antonio, Texas is one of the first physicians in Texas to offer the Balloon Sinuplasty treatment. The Balloon Sinuplasty system uses a small catheter and balloon to quickly open and expand blocked sinuses. To date Dr. Sertich has treated over 40 individuals successfully, and many more are in line to receive the balloon sinuplasty procedure.

More than 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis every year, making it one of the most common chronic health problems in the U.S.. Patients suffer headaches, congestion, fatigue and other symptoms. This condition significantly impacts an individual's physical, functional, and emotional quality of life.

Until recently, sinusitis patients were limited to two treatment options: medical therapy such as antibiotics and topical nasal steroids, and for more severe situations, a conventional sinus surgery such as Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS). However, FESS is a surgery that requires bone and tissue removal in order to open up blocked sinus passageways. With the possibility for complications and the typically long recovery times, patients often opted to continue their own personal suffering. Now, with the Balloon Sinuplasty technology, patients have a viable alternative.

A small, flexible balloon catheter is placed through a nostril into the blocked sinus passageway. The balloon is then inflated to gently restructure and open the sinus passageway, restoring normal sinus drainage and function.

In performing the balloon sinuplasty procedure, Dr. Sertich has been able to offer this minimally invasive alternative to patients who may fear extensive surgery that could result in complications and long recovery periods. Balloon sinuplasty makes it possible to achieve faster recovery times and less post-procedure discomfort. In fact, many of his patients have been able to return to normal activities within 24 hours and have had significant improvement in their symptoms.

Principal researcher and Alfred ENT surgeon, Dr Christopher Brown, said the surgery currently used to unblock sinuses sometimes resulted in scarring and involved a greater risk of complications compared to the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure.

“Because the brain is in close proximity to the sinuses, there is potentially a risk of injury,” said Dr Brown. “The frontal sinus in particular can be challenging to many ENT surgeons and so any new developments are always welcomed.”

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