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Relief is in Sight: New Options to Help Sinus Sufferers

Click here to download a PDF version of this article as it appeared in CommUnity.

Ann McDaniel-Hall had to do something when the facial pain and excruciating headaches became unbearable.

For years, she struggled with sinus problems. Although she was tired of taking antibiotics, she was reluctant to have traditional surgery. During a visit with her ear, nose and throat specialist Jeffrey LaCour, MD, she learned of another option that changed her life: Balloon Sinuplasty™.

Drs. LaCour and Toni Dennis regularly perform Balloon Sinuplasty™ at North Oaks ENT & Allergy for patients like McDaniel-Hall who have chronic sinus conditions. Because it’s less invasive than traditional surgery, the doctors recommend it for those with mild to moderate sinus disease, which can include recurring infections or frequent congestion and headaches that don’t respond to medication.

“Many patients with chronic sinusitis won’t respond to medication as surgery may be their best option,” Dr. LaCour explains. “Traditional surgery involves removal of bone and soft tissue from the blocked sinuses and is suggested for those with significant disease. Patients with less severe disease may benefit from Balloon Sinuplasty™ which does not involve removal of bone. The sinus openings are dilated to help sinuses drain. This is not the case with Balloon Sinuplasty™, which is much gentler.”

During the procedure, a small, flexible balloon catheter is placed through a nostril into the blocked sinus passageway. The balloon is then inflated to gently restructure and open the passageway, restoring normal sinus drainage and function – much like a heart surgeon opens blocked arteries during a balloon angioplasty. Patients generally heal faster and with less pain, bleeding, bruising or swelling. The risk of infection also is lower.

“It’s less traumatic for the patient and has a good success rate,” affirms Dr. Dennis, adding that the procedure is performed under local anesthesia, often in the doctor’s office.

Depending on the condition of the patient’s sinuses, the process takes about 15 to 45 minutes. While recovery times vary with each patient, most can return to normal activities within 24 hours since there is no cutting or bone removal.

Other advantages of Balloon Sinuplasty™ over traditional sinus surgery include:

  • Safe and effective and can be used to treat children
  • Minimal bleeding and less post-operative pain
  • Can be used along with other sinus treatment options
  • Does not limit future sinus treatment options.

Balloon Sinuplasty™ may be especially helpful to patients who have their sinus problems diagnosed early.

“The ideal candidate is someone who takes antibiotics frequently (more than 4-5 times per year) for sinus infections and whose symptoms return quickly when they stop taking medication,” Dr. LaCour notes.

Drs. LaCour and Dennis agree that patients should be evaluated if they experience:

  • Recurring sinus infections
  • Chronic bad breath and/or bad taste in the mouth
  • Headaches in forehead or in cheeks
  • Chronic nasal problems
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. LaCour or Dr. Dennis, call North Oaks ENT & Allergy Clinic at (985) 230-2630 in Hammond or (225) 686-4960 in Livingston. For more information, click