February 20, 2007 —Milwaukee— Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital is among the first centers in the Milwaukee area to offer a new, minimally invasive technology for treating chronic sinus inflammation. The Balloon Sinuplasty system uses a small catheter and balloon to quickly open and expand blocked sinuses.
Sinusitis is one of the most common chronic health problems in the U.S., afflicting 37 million Americans each year. Patients suffer headaches, congestion, fatigue and other symptoms. This condition significantly impacts an individual’s physical, functional, and emotional quality of life.
Until recently, sinusitis patients were limited to two treatment options: medical therapy such as antibiotics and topical nasal steroids, or conventional sinus surgery such as Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS). Medical therapy can help alleviate symptoms for 75-80% of patients but is inadequate for the rest. For them, sinus surgery is often the best option. However, FESS is a conventional surgery that requires bone and tissue removal in order to open up blocked sinus passageways. In lieu of a desired treatment, more than 600,000 patients elect to live with painful sinus conditions.
Now, endoscopic sinus surgery with the Balloon Sinuplasty technology provides an alternative to many long-suffering patients. With Balloon Sinuplasty, a small, flexible balloon catheter is placed through a nostril into the blocked sinus passageway. The balloon is then inflated to gently restructure and open the sinus passageway, restoring normal sinus drainage and function.
Richard Schmidt, MD of Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital is one of the first physicians in this area to offer this technology.
“The Balloon Sinuplasty procedure is a true advance in sinus care because in many cases it can be done without removing any tissue or bone,” said Schmidt. “That means faster recovery times and less post-procedure discomfort. In fact, I anticipate that many of my patients will be able to return to normal activities within 24 hours and noticed significant improvement with their symptoms.”
The Balloon Sinuplasty system is made by Acclarent, Inc., a privately held medical device company in Menlo Park, CA that was established in June of 2004.