Less invasive procedure helping those with severe sinus issues
Posted May 13, 2014
Durham, N.C. — Although May is normally one of the worst months of the year for North Carolina's allergy sufferers, some deal with symptoms year round – leading to bad colds and often inflammation and blockages.
Now, a minimally-invasive procedure can be done in a doctor's office to help open sinus passages.
Angela and Thelbert Daye have dealt with severe sinus problems for decades.
"I would always have at least three to four sinus infections a year," Angela Daye said.
"I'd been having sinus problems for 20 years," Thelbert added.
Thelbert Daye went so far as to have sinus surgery in the early 1980s. Rigid tools are used to remove bone and tissue in an effort to restore drainage, and the procedure is performed in a hospital with anesthesia.
"They did open me up, but it didn't work," he said. "It did for a short time period."
Recently, Angela Daye visited Duke University head and neck surgeon Dr. Donna Sharpe to undergo a balloon sinuplasty, a procedure that used to require a visit to a hospital or surgical center.
"We use topical sprays that both open the nose up and decongest it as well as numb the surface," Sharpe said.
Sharpe and other doctors who perform the procedure also use an injectable medicine to help complete the procedure. Doctors reach blocked outflow tracts with a catheter and small balloon, which dilates the sinus cavity.
It causes small micofractures, which can be heard during the procedure.
The tiny bones and tissue heal, but with the passages open.
"I haven't had but one sinus infection, and I've had the procedure over a year ago," Angela Daye said.
Thelbert Daye, who had the procedure done in March, says he can already tell a big difference.
Balloon sinuplastys don't cure allergies, so doctors may still recommend daily allergy medicines to help control symptoms.