It's estimated that 37 million Americans are affected by sinus infections every year and spend $6 billion annually battling it. Nancy Naeve Brown met a Mitchell woman who was sick and tired of being sick and tired from chronic sinusitis and finally got relief from an ENT at Avera Queen of Peace.
Sherri Patzer works for the Avera Queen of Peace Foundation in marketing, but she can't tell you many days over the years she's had to miss work or suffered through because of constant sinus infections.
"I've had chronic sinusitis my entire adult life. I get sinus infections 4 times during the winter but that increased to every other month. I was on antibiotics and steroids just to get through the day, "Sherri said.
The problem stems from the opening of Sherri's sinuses being too small, which caused a lot of swelling that lead to drainage problems and infections.
"I was miserable. I had pounding headaches, pain and pressure in my face that would make my whole body ache, "Sherri said.
When Sherri found out that Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon Dr. William Graham became specially trained in Balloon Sinuplasty, a new less invasive surgery to offer long awaited relief for chronic sinusitis patients like her, she was anxious to have it done.
"Balloon Sinuplasty is a procedure used to open the sinuses by threading a balloon catheter into the sinus opening, dilating the balloon which stretches open and dilates the sinus opening, "Dr. Graham with Graham ENT, P.C. said.
Dr. Graham demonstrates how strong that balloon is which happens to strong enough to move bone without having to use instruments to cut tissue like in the previous conventional procedure.
"Once positioned in the sinus opening which I'm demonstrating between my fingers inflate balloon and stretches the sinus open with that." Dr. Graham said.
The balloon catheter goes in using endoscopy and a guide wire. It's inflated, pulled back out and the sinus lining stays open.
"With conventional sinus surgery we'll have packing in place, post-op procedures to remove crusting and debris, but with Balloon Sinuplasty that's all gone. They can return to work faster, recover faster and have less pain.
Sherri was back at work in a couple of days.
"5 months later I haven't been on any antibiotics or steroids. I can smile again and mean it, "Sherri laughed.
She's too happy of a person to let a lifetime of sinus pain get her down. Thankfully those days are gone.
To learn about Balloon Sinuplasty go to: http://www.avera.org/queen-of-peace/services/balloon-sinuplasty/