New procedure to treat sinusitis

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email
Sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics, but when it becomes a chronic problem, surgery might be the answer.

Gina met Dr. Tarro and learned about a new procedure for folks - like her - who have chronic sinusitis.

PAWTUCKET, RI (NBC) - It's one of the most common health conditions for millions of us.

Sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics, but when it becomes a chronic problem, surgery might be the answer.

And now there's a new kinder, gentler procedure that can cut patients' pain and recovery time.

For one solid year, Gina Washington suffered with sinusitis. It totally affected her life.

"I couldn't smell, I couldn't taste and I was getting bad migraine headaches," said Gina. "Right over my eyes was the worst."

"In terms of health care costs, it costs the country a good $250 million to $300 million a year," said Otolaryngologist Dr. John Tarro.

Tarro explains sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus passages.

"When they get inflamed, the opening to the sinuses can get obstructed, and then mucous builds up in the sinuses that gets infected and it leads to pain, fevers and the discharge that a lot of patients will come in to the office with," said Tarro.

Gina tried over the counter medications, and was put on antibiotics. Nothing helped.

Finally, she couldn't take it anymore, and that's when she met Dr. Tarro and learned about a new procedure for folks - like her - who have chronic sinusitis.

Here is how it works. A small cable is fed in to the sinus, and it's flexible so it can follow the natural pathways which aren't always straight. It goes in to the sinus and then we put a balloon catheter over it, almost like angioplasty in the heart and the balloon dilates the opening to the sinus.

Dr. Tarro says long term data shows balloon sinuplasty is very effective in opening the sinus passages, for many people, permanently.


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