Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Relief for a Common Problem

Doctors use a small balloon and other minimally invasive treatments to relieve chronic sinus inflammation

If it seems like every time you turn around someone is sniffing, sneezing, snoring or squinting, you’re right. These are symptoms of sinusitis, which is one of the most common chronic health problems, affecting an estimated 37 million Americans each year, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“Sinusitis is a general term that simply means inflammation of the sinuses,” says Alidad Arabshahi, M.D., an ear, nose and throat specialist on Sentara Potomac Hospital’s medical staff. “It’s when the mucus membranes in your sinus cavities are swollen and do not allow air to flow easily through. This can cause miserable symptoms including stuffy nose, cough, and severe headaches.”

Finding relief

There’s good news for people who are looking for sinus relief but want to avoid traditional surgery.

“At Sentara Potomac Hospital, we perform Balloon Sinuplasty™,” says Dr. Arabshahi. “We place a small flexible balloon catheter through the nose into the blocked sinus passageway. We then inflate the balloon to restructure and unblock the passageway so that normal sinus drainage and function are restored.”

“Until recently, patients have had two main treatment options for severe sinusitis,” says Dr. Arabshahi. “Medical therapy, which includes antibiotics and topical nasal steroids, or conventional sinus surgery. Unfortunately, medical therapy doesn’t work for everyone and conventional sinus surgery can be painful because it involves the removal of bone and tissue to open up a blocked sinus passage.”

Since there is no bone or tissue removed with the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure, patients recover more quickly with less pain or discomfort during recovery, according to Dr. Arabshahi.

Free Sinus Screening

Wednesday, May 18, 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. in The Potomac Center, First Floor (Next to Sentara Potomac Hospital).

Screenings are performed by board-certified ear, nose and throat specialists, Drs. Alidad Arabshahi and Ramin Ipakchi, who are trained in minimally invasive sinus surgery techniques, including balloon sinuplasty. Register online or call 703-221-2500.