“I’ve seen how the in-office balloon sinus dilation procedure can be tremendously effective in select patients, avoiding a trip to the operating room which saves them money and time off work.”
Daniel Todd, MD
Midwest Ear, Nose and Throat
Nasal sprays, steroids, decongestants and even antibiotics can often fill the medicine cabinets of people who suffer from chronic sinus infections. Known as sinusitis, approximately 15% of the population is afflicted, which in turn accounts for over 20 million visits to the doctor’s office. But there is hope. New technology is giving sinus sufferers something to think about; it’s called balloon sinus dilation using either FinESS™ or XprESS™.
Midwest Ear, Nose and Throat sinus specialist Dr. Daniel Todd is no stranger to sinus dilation. He’s performed the balloon procedure for the past seven years. But what’s new and exciting for both him and sinus sufferers is the setting. “Using either FinESS or XprESS sinus dilation takes the patient out of the operating room and into the clinic setting,” adds Dr. Todd. By doing so, he adds that patients can potentially return to full activity immediately, some even driving themselves home.
For physicians, Dr. Todd says the majority of the effort is in achieving adequate local anesthesia. “We often take up to 30 minutes applying topical numbing medications before starting,” he adds. “Patients are tolerating it remarkably well and really appreciate not having to go to the hospital. I have seen several patients get excellent results with this limited intervention.”
The best part is that it can work as well as invasive procedures. Ideal candidates for the in-office treatment are those who suffer from four or more sinusitis infections per year and have limited relief from conservative therapies such as medications, sprays and even shots.
“If the sole objective is to open the sinuses, then this new technology allows select patients to avoid the operating room,” he adds. In addition to shorter recovery times and convenience, this procedure is extremely advantageous from a cost standpoint. “It essentially takes a major surgical procedure and turns it into something similar to an involved dental procedure.”
Aside from reducing the stack of medical bills, other factors affect the economic impact of chronic sinusitis sufferers. One study estimates that over 60 million workdays are lost due to sinus infections. And how about quality of life? Same thing. Recurrent and persistent sinusitis can result in missed work, detachment from family and loss of sleep.
But medical experts such as Dr. Todd are quick to point out that this new in-office procedure will not replace invasive surgery. “At Midwest ENT, we pride ourselves as being able to offer any and all therapies for our patient’s Sino nasal complaints, including cosmetics and allergy issues, adds Dr. Todd. “I see this procedure as another tool in our tool box.”