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Does Sinus Trouble Make Your Life Miserable?

Does this sound familiar? You have a stuffy nose with thick, yellowy mucus. You’re tired, achy and coughing, maybe even feverish. Breathing through your nose is difficult, if not impossible, and you may even have trouble smelling things.

Perhaps it’s a cold, but the medicines you try don’t help. To make matters worse, you develop a dull headache that won’t go away. When you finally decide to see your doctor, you find out—it’s sinusitis.

If this has happened to you once, or perhaps numerous times, you are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control reports more than 28 million American adults suffer from sinusitis, resulting in nearly 12 million visits to the doctor each year.

What is Sinusitis?

Your sinuses are hollow spaces located inside the bones around your nose. They produce mucus that drains into the nose. If the inside of your nose gets swollen, this can create painful blockage of the sinuses. If left untreated, sinusitis can go on for long periods of time. If it becomes a chronic condition, sinusitis can continue for months or even years.

Doctors have usually treated sinusitis with medication, including antibiotics, decongestants and pain relievers. They’ve also recommended using heat pads on the inflamed area, saline nasal spray and a vaporizer. Your doctor may also prescribe oral steroids, which can have side effects. If these medications and treatments fail to clear up the problem, patients may need surgery to improve sinus drainage and reduce blockage. In the past, this could mean a stay in the hospital and a painful recovery.

“The good news is technology is continuing to improve our ability to treat persistent sinusitis,” reported Jason Van Tassel, M.D., a board certified ear, nose and throat specialist with Washington Township Medical Foundation. “With a noninvasive procedure called balloon sinuplasty, or sinus dilation, we can relieve chronic sinusitis safely and comfortably in the office, with the patient under local anesthesia. This can improve their quality of life significantly.”

Come to a Free Seminar

You can learn more about balloon sinuplasty and its benefits in treating sinusitis at a free community health seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Called “Relief from Sinus Issues” and sponsored by Washington Hospital, the class will be held in the Conrad Anderson M.D. Auditorium in the Washington West Building next to Washington Hospital at 2500 Mowry Ave. in Fremont. To reserve your spot, click here, or call (800) 963-7070.

Doctors have been performing balloon sinuplasty to treat chronic sinusitis since 2005. At that time, the procedure was done in the hospital operating room with the patient under general anesthesia. With the development of smaller balloon catheters and the advancement of a specialized endoscope used for visualization, doctors can now perform the procedure safely and effectively in the office with just a local anesthetic to keep the patient comfortable.

At the seminar, Dr. Van Tassel will talk about the short and long term outcomes for patients after balloon sinuplasty.

“Recovery time from the procedure continues to get shorter and shorter,” he stated. “And, rarely is there a case when patients require packing of the sinus cavity afterwards. We are able to relieve a lot of sinus discomfort, congestion and pressure, while restoring a patient’s ability to breathe and smell.”

Studies comparing the office-based, non-invasive sinuplasty to the traditional surgery revealed that patients in the office tolerated the procedure well, with low pain scores. After surgery, they experienced better and faster improvement of symptoms and quicker recovery, with return to normal activities in about two days, on average.

In addition, there was less need for follow-up revision surgery. Long term relief also meant people who had balloon sinuplasty tended to be more productive at work, had fewer doctor visits and needed to take antibiotics less often.

Learn more.

Find out more about sinusitis, attend Dr. Van Tassel’s free seminar on Sept. 16. For more information or to reserve your spot, go online click here or call 800.963.7070. You can also go to the website of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, at