DENVER (CBS4) – Anybody who has ever had a pounding, painful, sinus headache, they have a lot of company. Each year more than 35 million Americans suffer from sinusitis.
CBS4 health specialist Kathy Walsh found a promising cure for the problem.
“I understand it can be done right in the doctor’s office,” Walsh said. “We watched it done in about 30 minutes by a doctor at Porter Adventist Hospital.”
The procedure is for people who have tried everything — antibiotics, nasal sprays, even surgery, but their sinuses still become blocked and inflamed. The problem may be corrected with the help of a tiny balloon.
During Walsh’s visit, Terri Orlovsky was getting numbed up and ready for the procedure that she hopes will clear her head and change her quality of life. She’s been battling a sinus problem for years.
“My sinuses tend not to drain properly,” Orlovsky said. “I have headaches, pressure, and terrible discomfort.”
Sinus specialist Dr. Jeffrey Cutler performed what’s called “balloon sinuplasty.” He used a special tool with a tiny balloon on the end that is inflated. It’s similar to balloon angioplasty used to unclog arteries of the heart.
“Once this is inflated it can remodel or push bone off to the side and also stretch scar tissue,” Cutler said.
When inserted in Orlovsky’s blocked sinus, the balloon restructured and widened the walls of the sinus passageway.
“And believe it or not, that’s pretty much it, so now we have a much wider opening to that frontal sinus,” Cutler said.
It’s a quick procedure Orlovsky hopes provides lasting relief.
“I just anticipate for the pressure to be gone and no more headaches; it would be wonderful,” Orlovsky said.
Cutler says the procedure is about 90 percent successful. It’s been around for a number of years, but was just approved as an in-office treatment in January.
Now, Orlovsky is nearly two weeks out of the procedure and says she feels good and is headache free.