NAITONAL (NBC) - A breakthrough procedure is bringing permanent relief to patients who suffer from chronic sinus infections.
Claire Maestri said she recently had a sinus infection she just couldn't shake.
"I could not get the energy to do much at all, much less care for a child and live my life the way I wanted to live it," she said.
Maestri is one of the roughly 37 million Americans who suffer sinus infections stemming from colds, allergies and air pollution.
She turned to Dr. Ford Albritton at the Texas Institute for Surgery in Dallas, who performed a procedure called "balloon sinuplasty."
"What happens when we get too much traffic on a highway? We widen the lanes, right?" Albritton said.
To widen the opening of Maestri's sinuses, Albritton inserted a tiny balloon up through her nose and inflated it.
The pressure permanently reshaped her sinus openings, allowing them to drain properly.
Unlike more traditional surgeries, recovery from balloon sinuplasty is fairly quick because no tissue is removed.
"I was back on my feet in no time," Maestri said.
Balloon sinuplasty is quickly becoming widely available, and insurance usually covers the cost.