Intense pressure, pain, congestion and headaches. These are typical symptoms of a condition more than 700,000 Washingtonians are living with called chronic sinusitis.
Now a new, minimally-invasive treatment is providing desperately sought relief to patients without any surgery.
Paula Davis has suffered from chronic sinus infections for years. She feels it in her eyes, her cheeks – a stabbing pain that won’t go away.
Ear, nose and throat doctor Michael Siegel says she has chronic sinusitis, meaning her sinuses are inflamed and blocking her airway. More than 700,000 Washingtonians are living with the condition.
Davis receives temporary relief from medicine and antibiotics but wants long-term relief without having surgery. So this month, she's having a new minimally-invasive procedure called a balloon sinuplasty
“We feed a wire into the sinus and then carefully guide a balloon over the wire and then use that balloon to dilate the sinus opening,” Siegel says.
In traditional surgery, bone is removed. But with this, the bone is just remodeled, which preserves the sinus lining.
Kim Harvey had the procedure on her lower sinuses last year and saw an enormous improvement.
“The change was immediate,” Harvey says. “I haven't been sick nearly as much. I've haven't had the sinus infections.”
She improved so much she's back for her upper sinuses. Harvey says the procedure is painless.
Siegel says recovery is much faster than with traditional surgery, with eighty percent recovery within a day.
He says benefits include reducing pain and pressure and improved breathing.
After years of suffering, Davis can't wait.
“I'm looking forward to being able to breathe, to be able to not have the pain,” Davis says.