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New Technology in Treating Chronic Sinus Infections Now Available at Centegra Health System

Janet Schutt just wanted to breathe easier. For over ten years she suffered from chronic sinus infections; it was a constant battle for her to breathe through her nose. Janet searched for many different non-surgical treatments to find relief, but medication and therapies never seemed to ease her discomfort. Janet is not alone; over 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, an often chronic condition characterized by painful swollen sinuses, congestion and fatigue. The condition significantly impacts an individual’s physical, functional and emotional quality of life. Until recently, sinusitis patients were limited to two treatment options: medical therapy such as antibiotics and topical nasal steroids, or conventional sinus surgery such as Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS). Medical therapy can help alleviate symptoms for 75-80 percent of patients but is inadequate for the rest. For them, sinus surgery is often the best option.

However, the conventional sinus surgery (FESS) requires bone and tissue removal in order to open up blocked sinus passageways. In lieu of the more invasive surgical treatment, more than 600,000 patients elect to live with painful sinus conditions. But now, a new, less-invasive procedure, Balloon Sinuplasty, is available at Centegra Health System to help these patients find relief.

This new type of procedure has only been offered by a handful of physicians in the entire Chicagoland area and Alex Kim, MD, an otolaryngologist with Affiliated Ear, Nose and Throat in Woodstock, is among the first physicians in the area to offer this life-changing procedure. His first procedure was performed on Janet Schutt at Centegra Memorial Medical Center in Woodstock last month.”Sinuplasty is a revolutionary new, minimally invasive procedure that opens sinus cavities in the same way physicians open clogged arteries with balloon angioplasty,”  Alex Kim, MD, said. “The procedure slowly widens the soft tissue and bony opening of the sinuses through a small guide wire and catheter with a balloon that is fed into the sinus itself. The procedure takes less than three minutes per sinus to complete and many patients are able to return to normal activities within a couple of days with a significant improvement in their symptoms.”

After Janet’s procedure she noticed a big difference in her symptoms. “I finally was not waking up in the morning with a runny nose and my husband keeps telling me I am not snoring anymore because I can finally breathe through my nose again,”  Janet Schutt remarked. According to Dr. Kim, any patient with chronic sinusitis who has failed medical therapy is a good candidate for this procedure. “It is ideal for a patient who wants an effective, minimally invasive treatment for their sinus disease and who can’t afford to have an extended recovery time,”  Dr. Kim added.

Recovery time and side affects from sinuplasty is minimal. Patients may experience mild discomfort and bleeding but depending on what other procedures were completed along with the sinuplasty, improvement in their sinonasal symptoms occurs very quickly.”I am so thrilled that I had the procedure done. I was fed up with how I felt before and now only two weeks after the surgery, I finally feel normal again,”  Janet added.