Raise your hand if you hide in your house with nasal spray and decongestants as the rest of your friends and family frolic in the spring air.Is your hand in the air?
People with sinus pressure caused by allergies or sinusitis are part of a group of people who dread fairer weather because it comes with more misery than flu season wrought.
If you raised your hand, you're one of the 29.4 million adults in the United States who deal with chronic sinus issues. But you don't need to be in this club forever.
You may be a candidate for one of the many types of sinus surgery that relieves sinus pressure - and your misery.
The OPEN procedure is one of those types of sinus surgeries.
Ready to learn more and start living your life all year - come spring or flu season?
Keep reading to find out if the OPEN Procedure could change your life.
What Is the OPEN Procedure?
The OPEN Procedure is a safe and effective in-office alternative to traditional sinus surgery.
You don't need to be a surgeon to understand how it works.
During the procedure, your doctor attaches a tiny balloon to the end of a catheter. The catheter is then carefully threaded into your sinus cavity. Once there, it's inflated and expands your sinuses.
Once your sinuses are open, the surgeon deflates the balloon and removes your catheter. The whole thing is over in less than an hour.
How Does It Work?
So, they want to stick a balloon in your nose. What is that supposed to do?
It does a lot.
This is the same type of technique used in cardiovascular surgeries (or angioplasties) to clear blood vessels blocked by plaque. By opening your sinuses, it allows them to drain at a healthy pace rather than remaining stuck, which is what causes sinus pressure in the first place.
Traditional Sinus Surgeries vs. The OPEN Procedure
If you've dealt with sinus issues for more than six months, then you've probably seen one of the many sinus surgeries that claim to relieve sinus swelling once and for all. There's just one problem: these are invasive surgeries, and they require:
- a trip to the hospital
- cutting and tissue removal
- downtime after the procedure
- time off work
- a wait time of days or weeks for relief
In other words, traditional sinus surgery may work, but it stinks.
The OPEN Procedure takes all of the things that put patients off traditional sinus surgery and leaves them by the wayside.
Why Should I Treat My Chronic Sinus Problems?
Sinus pressure is more than just annoying, uncomfortable, and inconvenient.
If over-the-counter treatments and other solutions aren't working for you, then you should consult an ENT to see whether the OPEN Procedure or another type of sinus surgery is right for you.
Sinus issues are worth fixing because you deserve to breathe easy. Moreover, letting them become a chronic issue can result in complications you might not expect.
For example, if you suffer from chronic sinusitis, you could deal with serious complications like:
- Partial or total loss of smell
- Spread of infection
- Vision issues
In very rare cases, a severe sinus infection can spread from your sinuses into the brain, usually resulting in meningitis. These complications are unlikely, but when you consider the future risk with the present discomfort, you'll find a strong incentive to get the problem taken care of now.
Am I a Candidate for the OPEN Procedure?
Not everyone is a candidate for the OPEN Procedure. To qualify, you must be struggling with chronic sinusitis that doesn't respond to medicine.
Alternatively, patients with recurrent acute rhinosinusitis may also be candidates for the surgery.
FAQs About the OPEN Procedure
We know you likely have a million questions, so we're going to answer the most common questions here. If you have a question about your personal experience, we encourage you to reach out to us.
1. Why is the OPEN Procedure safer?
The OPEN Procedure is safer than traditional surgery because there is no cutting involved.
Traditional surgery requires your doctor to cut your bone or tissue or both. The cutting is what produces the most complications and results in a longer recovery time.
Minimally invasive procedures like the OPEN Procedure tend to be safer than tradition surgeries because they cause less chaos to your body's tissues.
2. How long will the effects of the procedure last?
Studies performed on patients who have had the OPEN Procedure last around two years after the operation. One study found that most people who have the procedure see meaningful improvements in both their sinus pressure and their overall quality of life.
3. What will recovery be like?
Recovery depends on the individual patient.
Clinical studies have found that most patients are happy enough to go back to work or enjoy regular activity two days after their procedure.
4. Does it require general anesthesia?
Not always. Some doctors offer the procedure using local anesthesia only. This is a safer choice for whom general anesthesia is too dangerous.
5. What treatments do I have to try before I try the OPEN Procedure?
Doctors don't knock out any old sinus infection with one of these procedures. Although it's minimally invasive, it's still surgery and should be the last resort.
Before the procedure, you should have tried both prescription and over-the-counter medications for treating sinusitis including:
- Antibiotics (for infections)
- Nasal decongestant sprays
- Nasal steroid sprays
- CT scan
- Allergy medications (if a doctor diagnoses allergies)
The list of medicines available for treating sinus-related problems is long. Don't let it get you down if your doctor encourages trying another type of drug before surgery.
Don't Live with Sinus Pressure
If you've tried everything to reduce sinus swelling, and nothing has worked, don't give up. The OPEN Procedure may be able to help alleviate your suffering and get you back to living your life.
Although it's a groundbreaking, safe procedure, it's not for everyone. Request an appointment today to talk more about your sinus pressure and medical history and find out if you're a candidate for the OPEN Procedure.