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Archive April 2015 XVI, No. 4

What's New in Chronic Sinusitis Treatment

Clear your patients' heads with balloon sinuplasty, image-guided navigation and steroid-eluting stents.

Kendal Gapinski

Kendal Gapinski, Contributing Editor


Natan Scher, MD, performs sinus surgery SINUS SURGERY Natan Scher, MD, performs sinus surgery at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Ill.

After rounds of medications fail to clear patients' stuffy, congested heads, they want a fix and they want it fast. While there is no cure for chronic sinusitis, new treatment options and surgical technologies are providing easier and more effective relief to patients. "The treatments are aimed at draining the sinuses while being painless to the patient and as long-lasting as they can be, so patients don't have frequent recurrences," says Martin L. Hopp, MD, PhD, medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Sinus Center in Los Angeles.

With technology like drug-eluting stents, balloon sinuplasty and ENT navigation, your docs have more options than ever to treat a wider spectrum of sinusitis sufferers. "We have new tools to reduce the amount of bleeding, and we have new methods to reduce the amount of pain," says Natan Scher, MD, an otolaryngologist at Ingalls Health System in Harvey, Ill. "We also have new implants and some other technical methods that all help to improve outcomes."

Balloon sinuplasty made simple
While balloon sinuplasty has been around for almost a decade, it is now less reliant on general anesthesia and is shifting from mainly hospital settings to ambulatory surgery centers or offices. It's also one of the largest growing treatments for sinusitis, thanks to its quick recovery period and convenience for patients. "It has revolutionized sinusitis treatment," says Dr. Hopp.

Increasingly being done only under local anesthesia, balloon sinuplasty is evolving to work well in high-turnover settings, says Dr. Hopp. In the updated procedure, a local anesthetic is injected into the sinus and patients remain awake for the procedure, allowing for a quicker recovery. The balloon catheter is inserted into the inflamed sinus and inflated to expand and restructure the sinus opening. Saline is then sprayed into the inflamed sinus to flush out pus and mucus, and the system is removed, allowing the sinus to drain.

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