Clearing the way

. February 20, 2013.

Any childhood health problems are a nightmare for a parent, but chronic sinusitis is a stubborn and all-too-widespread affliction, leading to missed school, lost sleep, and general misery. Some 37 million Americans deal with sinus problems every year, and a significant portion of them are children. But Dr. Oliver Jenkins and Dr. Christopher Perry, of the Toledo Clinic ENT Sinus Center of Excellence are among the region’s pioneers in the use of a promising new non-invasive technique—balloon sinuplasty—to ease the suffering of those with the toughest cases of sinusitis.
“These young patients suffer from recurring headaches, nasal congestion and drainage, fatigue, and other symptoms,” states Dr. Jenkins. “Many times, these problems persist for years, but may now be alleviated, thanks to balloon sinuplasty.”
Typically, sinusitis is first treated pharmaceutically, with antiobiotics, antihistamines, and topical nasal sprays. If these simple measures are ineffective, doctors turn to adenoidectomy—the removal of the lymphatic tissue at the back of the nasal cavity which can obstruct breathing. This is a relatively simple procedure which is generally done on an outpatient basis. But until quite recently, if these techniques weren’t sufficient, patients would have no choice but to undergo more extensive sinus surgery.
Balloon sinuplasty, by contrast, is much less invasive, and can also be done as an outpatient procedure. The patient is under general anesthesia, but only for about a half hour. Doctors insert a thin, flexible balloon catheter through the nostril and into the obstructed sinus area. The balloon is then inflated, clearing the obstructed passage and gently reshaping the sinus without causing damage. If successful, this will restore normal sinus drainage and function, without the severe discomfort and slow recovery that can be a consequence of traditional sinus surgery.
Some 65,000 people have been treated with balloon sinuplasty since its approval by the FDA, and when combined with adenoidectomy, it has been shown to be 85 percent effective. Drs. Perry and Jenkins are among the first in the state to use this technique, and for troubled parents with children suffering from sinusitis, that is good news indeed.
The Toledo Clinic ENT Sinus Center for Excellence is at 5800 Park Center Ct., Ste C. 419-724-8368