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The technique is balloon sinuplasty,
which involves the insertion of a tiny
balloon into the sinus cavities. When
inflated, the balloon widens the sinus
cavities by squeezing the bones and tis-
sues out of the way, allowing the sinus
to drain properly and clear any infection.
Unlike traditional sinus surgery, it
requires no cutting and no removal of
bones and tissue. This maintains the
structure of the sinus cavity and reduces
pain, blood loss and risk of complications.
Dr. Hanna, who has used the tech-
nology for several years and is the first
surgeon at Saint Peter’s to perform it,
says balloon sinuplasty is comparable
to cardiac angioplasty. He first inserts
a guide wire through the nose to the
blocked sinus, then threads the balloon
What’s the nation’s most
common chronic health problem?
Sinus disease. Chronic sinus-
itis, a persistent inflammation of the air
passages that surround the nasal cav-
ity, affects about 37 million Americans
each year, says John Hanna, D.O., an
otolaryngologist—ear, nose and throat
specialist—at Saint Peter’s University
Hospital. And surgery isn’t always the
answer. (See “Sinusitis By the Book,”
below.) But thanks to a technique for
sinus surgery now in use at the CARES
Surgicenter, part of Saint Peter’s Health-
care System, patients with the disease
have an option that opens blocked
sinuses more quickly and safely than
traditional procedures, allowing for a faster
recovery and return to normal activities.
FOR SINUS WOES
BALLOON SINUPLASTY RELIEVES SINUSITIS
WITH LESS PAIN AND A FASTER RECOVERY
catheter along the wire. “It’s tougher than
the cardiac balloon because it needs to
move bone and firmer tissues,” he says.
He inflates the balloon for only a cou-
ple of seconds and can see the result
through an endoscope (a thin tube with a
light and a video camera).
Most patients can be treated with bal-
loon sinuplasty alone, Dr. Hanna says.
Others with multiple growths in the
sinuses or blockages in hard-to-reach
areas may need both the balloon and tra-
ditional surgery. And the procedure can
be repeated if blockages return (a possi-
bility also present with traditional surgery).
Research has shown convincing
long-term success rates,” Dr. Hanna
says. “My patients are very happy with
SINUSITIS BY THE BOOK
can be caused by allergies, obstructions or recur-
rent infections,” says Deborah F. Rosin, M.D., an
otolaryngologist—ear, nose and throat specialist.
Medical therapies, including over-the-counter
irrigations, allergen reduction, smoking reduction,
nasal steroid sprays, antihistamines and antibiot-
ics are usually effective treatments. Only when
they fail is surgery recommended.”
Dr. Rosin continues to perform traditional sinus
surgery at the CARES Surgicenter, part of Saint
Peter’s Healthcare System, in New Brunswick.
Performed endoscopically (with a thin lighted tube)
under a local or general anesthetic, such proce-
dures involve the removal of infected bone and
tissue and the draining of the sinus cavity. The
patient is sent home the same day with some
packing in the nose, which dissolves on its own in
a day or two. “There are no black-and-blue marks
and no swelling,” says Dr. Rosin, author of
McGraw-Hill, 1999), which
explains sinus problems in laymen’s terms.
John Hanna, D.O.,
demonstrates with a
model how balloon