Balloon Sinuplasty – Success Story

Recently I have reflected back in time to describe my first experience with Balloon Sinuplasty, how I became the first physician to perform this procedure in the State of Pennsylvania and how this technology has changed since 2006. See the previous blogs.

Today I’d like to share a success story which fortunately is quite typical of our outcome that we continue to see on a daily basis. If you suffer with chronic sinusitis or other symptoms that are highlighted in this case report, just substitute your information in the attached sinus questionnaire form to see if you too could benefit from this advanced in-office conservative procedure like our patient E.M. noted earlier this year.

To introduce EM, she is a 73 year old female who describes herself as a “Sinus Sufferer” all her life. Her worse symptoms include facial pain/pressure, post nasal thick drainage which triggers an annoying persistent cough, nasal congestion and ear pain/pressure. EM has a past medical history of Diabetes and Hypertension. Diabetes unfortunately places her at higher risk for infections especially if her sugar levels are high. She has tried many different over-the-counter medications without success. She has some allergy symptoms and was even tested and treated with allergy shots which helped to reduce her sneezing, clear nasal drainage and eye itching. She completed this therapy hoping for a cure to her sinus troubles which unfortunately never occurred. She still uses an antihistamine, saline nasal irrigation, a steroid nasal spray each on a daily basis but she wonders if they even help. She has never seen an ENT specialist however she gets lots of antibiotics prescribed numerous times/year which is the only relief she sees for her repeating sinus infections.

She presented to our office and had a CT scan (See Figure 1) performed on her first visit, a nasal endoscopy showing her the nasal blockages and thick drainage trickling to the back of her nose then down her throat. There were no polyps noted. She also filled out a sinus symptom questionnaire (called a SNOT-20) which described her initial sinus symptoms (See Figure 2 Pre-Procedure left side green highlights). The higher the number associated with each symptom, the worse the sinus symptom and a lower number corresponds to a lesser associated sinus problem. Note that she ranks cough, post-nasal drainage, ear pain and facial pain/pressure as her worst complaints. Also of note was her sleep quality which is also a high number corresponding to a bothersome sinus complaint.

Figure 1. CT Scan showing multiple infected sinuses (arrows)

EM was provided with different treatment options and she opted for an in-office Balloon Sinuplasty with a turbinate and swell body reduction to help with her chronic congestion. The procedure went perfectly as described in The Blog “Balloon Sinuplasty – Then Till Now”. On her 2 week follow up she already felt improved and on her second follow up visit, she agreed to revisit the same SNOT-20 sinus questionnaire to see how much she improved. See Figure 2.

Figure 2. Comparing the pre and post-procedure SNOT-20 scores.

EM now shows different complaints of sneezing which she feels is related to her underlying allergy. She also feels that allergy is also leading to her reduced but persistent post nasal drainage and cough. Overall her sinus SNOT-20 score has decreased by 81%. Yes, you read that correctly, she improved by 81%! Needless to say, EM has begun her mission to spread the word of how much she feels and how relatively easy her experience truly was in our office based procedure center.

Some of her unsolicited remarks were as follows, “During the entire process, I never felt any pain”, “I was constantly on antibiotics and steroids just to get by. Once the medications were finished, it wasn’t long until I started to feel worse again”, ”I’m a Diabetic and I needed to keep taking the steroids which caused my sugar counts to skyrocket”, “I can’t remember breathing through my nose like I do now, especially at night. I sleep so much better now”, “I had a constant headache, my nose was always blocked and my drainage was like concrete. Not anymore”, and finally “If I had to do it again, I’d do it in a heartbeat”!

In summary, if you have sinus troubles and recurring infections, wouldn’t you want to feel 81% better? Call our office at Sinus and Allergy Wellness Center to schedule your appointment and follow EM’s pathway to success.