Local News

Nasal Polyps Can Be Troublesome For Allergy Sufferers

Posted April 28, 2006

— Spring allergy season can be a double problem for some people. On top of allergies, they also have blocked sinuses, and surgery may be the only path to relief.

Allergy sufferers are most at risk of developing another sinus problem - polyps, abnormal growths found inside the nose. Multiple polyps filled Carson Harris' sinuses.

"I couldn't breathe through my nose. I couldn't smell," she said.

The polyps closed off the nasal passages. With no sinus drainage, there is often infection and severe sinus headache. Dr. Michael Ferguson, an ear, nose and throat specialist at WakeMed, removed Harris' polyps. He used endoscopic surgery with a tiny camera mixed with a 3-D X-ray image that serves as a map through the complex sinus network.

"We can perform surgery with less risk of injury to some of the surrounding structures, like the brain and eye, which are right around where we are operating, and we certainly want to avoid," Ferguson said.

Harris needed three surgeries over three years because some polyps kept coming back. She learned that with daily saline nasal flushes, steroid medication and regular checkups, she can keep the polyps under control.

"Now, [I'm] good as gold. [I] haven't been this good, nasal-wise, in a couple of years," she said.

Recovery from polyp surgery usually requires about a week away from work or normal activities.


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