Sinusitis affects about 37 million people in the United States every year. The physical symptoms of this chronic condition can be physically and emotionally taxing and can significantly lower your quality of life. Initially, your doctor may recommend non-invasive treatments like steroids, antibiotics, and nasal saline treatments. However, if these fail to improve your symptoms – as they do in about 20 percent of patients – you may require sinus surgery. But the risks and aftereffects of surgery can be daunting, which is why most doctors offer los gatos minimally invasive sinus procedures. Here are five examples and how they can help relieve your chronic sinusitis.
Balloon sinuplasty is the most popular minimally-invasive treatment for sinus problems. It involves the insertion of a thin, flexible pipe called a cannula into your sinuses. As the name suggests, the pipe has a tiny balloon attached to its end. Your doctor inflates this balloon for a few seconds to flatten inflamed tissues and unblock blocked sinuses. This opens up your sinuses, which stay that way for up to two years, allowing mucus to drain better. Balloon sinuplasty is FDA-approved to treat recurrent acute and chronic sinusitis. According to a study, 90 percent of recipients still have open sinuses two years later.
Clarifix is a similarly effective treatment that uses cryotherapy or freezing technology to soothe overactive nerves in your nasal area. Overactive nerves are a common cause of chronic rhinitis, which is the inflammation of the nose. When your nose is inflamed, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms like post-nasal drip, nasal congestion, and a runny nose. Through a ClariFix device, your doctor can disrupt the signals causing overactive nerves in your nose, relieving these symptoms.
Turbinates refer to the body sections in your nasal passages that warm and filter air when you inhale. When you have allergic rhinitis or sinusitis, your turbinates may swell or become enlarged, making breathing difficult and causing chronic congestion. Your doctor can treat this problem through a minimally-invasive procedure called turbinate reduction. During your session, a technician will apply local or topical anesthesia to the treatment area. Your doctor will then use radio frequency energy to remove parts of the tissue in your turbinates to restore the normal size and improve breathing.
Propel Sinus Stent
Another minimally-invasive sinus treatment, propel sinus stent, is performed to eliminate the need for additional treatments following balloon sinuplasty. The stent is a small device inserted into the sinus opening after dilation to provide physical support to the opening. The device, which is biocompatible to prevent adverse reactions, also releases steroids slowly into the sinus to prevent inflammation and scarring during the healing period. The overall effect is faster recovery from balloon sinuplasty. Moreover, the stent keeps your sinus open longer and prevents the re-occurrence of sinusitis.
Radiofrequency Treatments (VivAER and RhinAER)
Your doctor can also apply radiofrequency energy to your sinuses to promote healing. One way they can do this is through VivAER, which uses energy to restructure the soft tissues in your passages and improve your breathing. Similarly, they can perform RhinAER to soothe the nerves that cause excessive mucus production and relieve swelling.
Sinus pain can be unbearable and debilitating. And the thought of undergoing surgery – the risks, long recovery, and scarring – can be even scarier. Fortunately, you can relieve this pain through minimally-invasive procedures. Because they do not involve incisions, you do not have to worry about scars. You will also heal faster and experience less pain and less tissue damage. You can discuss these procedures with an otolaryngologist to learn more today.