COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It’s minimally invasive with less than a day’s worth of downtime – and the procedure can be performed in less than 30 minutes. And the kicker? It could clear up your chronic sinus infections for good.
Doctors are touting the benefits of a relatively new sinus balloon procedure. WIS filmed a procedure at Palmetto ENT on Devine Street in Columbia.
"It kept getting re-infected,” said Leonard Cox. “So they said ‘It looks like a cesspool up there on top of your head.’"
Cox is talking about the CT scan for his wife, Jan Gatch. We caught up with him as he sat in the waiting room at Palmetto ENT. He told us that Jan has struggled with sinus infections for 10-15 years. She had major sinus surgery last year, which helped a couple of her sinus cavities, but she was still struggling with others. Combined with her asthma and chronic allergies during the spring, it is a miserable cycle.
"So they're thinking that this 'balloon surgery' is gonna be the thing that solves her problem,” said Cox.
Those infections brought Jan to Dr. Paysinger, who is using a new procedure to help relieve her constant congestion.
"We're actually micro-fracturing and compressing the bony duct... remodeling it,” said Dr. Paysinger.
After using a local anesthetic to numb the sinus cavities, Dr. Paysinger inserts a catheter with a balloon into separate sinuses with the help of a small camera.
Once inside, he inflates the balloon.
"It can drain, ventilate,” said Dr. Paysiner. “The pressure they're used to should be gone immediately."
Immediate relief, that's exactly how one of Dr. Paysinger’s other patients, Charlie Speight, said he felt after his time in the chair. Speight originally made his way to the doctor for hearing problems, only to realize it was his sinuses that were actually the problem. He got the procedure a couple months ago and said it changed his entire existence.
"It was a very simple procedure actually. As complicated as it sounds,” said Speight. "I can now fully breathe out of both nostrils for the first time in decades."
Studies show that the procedure has a 98% success rate and can be done in minutes. Jan, for instance, was in the chair and anesthetized at 1:20 PM. Dr. Paysinger was done with the procedure by 1:45 PM.
If you’re interested in learning more about the procedure or scheduling one, you can go to Palmetto ENT’s website: http://www.palmettoentconsultants.com/.