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Sinus pressure and pain? A new procedure could help

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 By Colleen Lennard-Love, MD

More than 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, which makes it difficult to breathe through one’s nose and causes discolored nasal drainage, pressure, cough, fatigue, fever and loss of sense of smell.

In the past, my patients generally had only two options for relief: either a course of antibiotics and steroids, or if that did not work, sinus surgery. Conventional sinus surgery involved removing bone or tissue from the nose. Patients often missed weeks from work after surgery, and full recovery took about four to six weeks. The good news is there is now a newer, safer procedure: balloon sinuplasty.

Unlike conventional sinus surgery, balloon sinuplasty does not remove bone or tissue. With minimally invasive surgery, patients have less pain, a shorter recovery and better long-term results.

This newer procedure is best for people who have had four or more episodes of acute sinusitis within a year, or who have suffered from chronic sinusitis for more than three months. Patients who have bulky polyps or who already had traditional, open sinus surgery are generally not good candidates.

In my practice, we perform balloon sinuplasty as a same-day procedure. A small, flexible balloon is put through the nostril into the blocked sinus. When the balloon is inflated, it gently restructures and opens the sinus passageway, restoring normal sinus drainage and function. Like any surgery, there are potential complications but they are less common and generally less severe than the complications from traditional sinus surgery.

For many people, balloon sinuplasty permanently opens up the sinus passages and relieves nagging pain and pressure, with long-term results.


Board-certified ear, nose and throat specialist Colleen Lennard-Love, MD, sees patients by referral at Samaritan North Lincoln ENT Clinic in Lincoln City and Samaritan Pacific ENT & Allergy in Newport. She can be reached at 541-994-8114 in Lincoln City and at 541-574-4677 in Newport.