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New sinus treatment offers breath of fresh air for patients - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

New sinus treatment offers breath of fresh air for patients

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James Cox undergoes balloon sinus dilation treatment after suffering from sinusitis for years. (Photo source: Erin Buchanan/KTBS) James Cox undergoes balloon sinus dilation treatment after suffering from sinusitis for years. (Photo source: Erin Buchanan/KTBS)
A small balloon is inflated and inserted into the sinuses to reshape the pathways and allow for normal breathing. (Photo source: Entellus) A small balloon is inflated and inserted into the sinuses to reshape the pathways and allow for normal breathing. (Photo source: Entellus)
Dr. Bill Parker demonstrates the balloon sinus dilation treatment at the Highland Clinic in Shreveport. (Photo source: Erin Buchanan/KTBS) Dr. Bill Parker demonstrates the balloon sinus dilation treatment at the Highland Clinic in Shreveport. (Photo source: Erin Buchanan/KTBS)
SHREVEPORT, La. (KTBS) -

"I came in here not being able to breathe through one side of my nose."

For years, Shreveport resident James Cox suffered from sinus infections, and had tried both antibiotics and invasive surgery with few positive results.

"There was one moment when he did something to open up something and it was immediate. I had air passing through that side of my sinus."

A little over a month ago, he underwent balloon sinus dilation and it may sound quite a bit more complicated than it actually is.

Dr. Bill Parker, Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist at the Highland Clinic in Shreveport, uses a small balloon, which is about an inch 1/2 long, to gently open and reshape Cox's sinus pathways.

"The sinuses are small in their opening to the nose and so we dilate that opening to make them work better."

Instant relief for patients like Cox, who says there was virtually zero recovery time.

"The relief hasn't stopped since. I can breathe again (breathing deeply), and I don't have any sinusitis, I don't have any headaches, I'm not needing to take any pain medications."

The treatment was cleared by the FDA in 2005, research has shown that it poses little risk to tissue since there's no cutting involved.

For many years, sinusitis sufferers were either treated with on-going rounds of medication or surgery that required weeks of recovery.

"If all the other methods have failed, then this is a conservative procedure done in the office, under local anesthesia, that will help a chronic sinus patient," says Dr. Parker.

Chronic swelling of the sinuses, which plagues over 30 million Americans, can prevent proper draining, meaning build-up of fluids can cause recurring sinus infections and pain.

And though the procedure may not be for everyone, Parker says it's certainly a go-to option to treat a problem that affects millions.

"If I do my job right, and the patient does their job right, we should not have to repeat the procedure," Parker says.

"This is one of the few things that you actually go do that you get an immediate result. You get what you pay for," adds Cox.

Parker says most insurance plans cover the procedure, which can be performed in a matter of minutes, after application of the local anesthesia.

The annual cost of treating sinusitis soars into the billions, with about $3 billion spent every year on medications, outpatient treatment, and emergency room visits.

It's the fifth most common diagnosis for which antibiotics are prescribed.

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