Chronic sinusitis is an uncomfortable, even debilitating infection of air-filled passages in the facial area of the skull. When medications and non-invasive therapies fail, your St. Luke's Hospital ENT doctor, Dr. Paul Burk, may recommend an in-office procedure called balloon sinuplasty. Could this innovative procedure performed at Ear, Nose, Throat St. Luke help you?
The problem of sinusitis
Sinus infections plaque more than 37 million people in the United States. Fever, fatigue, extreme congestion, facial pain and a runny nose typically last 7 days or more; however, when sinusitis continually recurs or lasts four weeks or more, your St. Luke ENT physician diagnoses the problem as chronic sinusitis.
With chronic sinusitis, typical treatments just don't work--interventions such as antibiotics, decongestants and sinus irrigation (neti pot). Inflammation of the moist membranes which line all sinus cavities leads to poor drainage of mucus, resulting in continuing infection.
Some risk factors--smoking, allergies, asthma, a deviated septum--increase the likelihood of chronic sinusitis. However, even when these factors are addressed, some people still find no substantial relief.
How balloon sinuplasty can help
During a balloon sinuplasty procedure, Dr. Burk uses a lighted endoscope to introduce a thin catheter through the nose into the sinus cavities. The doctor inflates the balloon attached to the catheter, using it to dilate, or make more space, within the sinus cavities so air and mucous can flow more freely.
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2005, balloon sinuplasty is a short treatment, and it causes no appreciable downtime. Dr. Burk simply encourages lighter physical activity for a day or two post-procedure.
Amazingly, this procedure requires no cutting or suturing whatsoever. Plus, the patient is comfortable throughout, usually experiencing nothing more than a feeling of pressure. In addition, people find relief from their symptoms within several days, and the therapeutic effects last.
At Ear, Nose, Throat St. Luke Sinuplasty, Dr. Paul Burk can give you the details on how well your sinuses are functioning and if you are a candidate for balloon sinuplasty. Most people are. Call one of our two locations today to arrange a consultation. For the St. Luke office, phone (314) 576-7503, De Paul (314-770-0708), and in Des Peres, call (324) 821-5002.