News & Events

Shape up your Sinuses

April 16, 2014

By Shannon Harsh, The Alliance Review, Published April 16, 2014

Dr. David Kanagy, an otolaryngologist with the Alliance Community Medical Foundation, is offering sinus sufferers some relief using an in-office balloon sinuplasty procedure.

Though the endoscopic sinus surgery itself is not new, the convenience of having it done in an office is.

In the last year, Kanagy became one of the only doctors in a six-county area to begin doing the procedure in the office under local anesthesia, which means no sedation, no IV, no gowns, and no visit to the hospital's surgical department.

"In the past we would operate on (sinus patients), involving removing tissue, making large openings in the sinuses, but in the last seven or eight years, we've had technology here where we can pass a balloon catheter into the natural opening in the sinus and expand that natural opening," he described. He added that an irrigating catheter is then used to flush out the sinuses.

While it is still sometimes done in the operating room on an outpatient basis, some patients have undergone the balloon sinuplasty in the office and have done very well, Kanagy said. "It's very well-tolerated in the office, and then you can return to work very rapidly," he said.

Regardless of where the procedure takes place, Kanagy said the results have been tracked and show an 85 to 90 percent success rate.

"Success means we're getting you off all the antibiotics these people are typically on," he explained. "Oftentimes, people are on three or four antibiotics each year, and oftentimes for four or five years in a row, and getting them off those multiple courses of antibiotics is our main goal."

The treatment is an option for those suffering from chronic sinusitis, whose colds turn into lengthy sinus infections requiring a trip to the doctor and prescription antibiotics.

"People who have a chronic sinusitis will get on antibiotics and they oftentimes never will get back to normal," Kanagy said. "They'll get back to their baseline and it just smolders in there and then flares up in there and becomes problematic as quickly as a month or six weeks later, or they might not respond to that particular antibiotic and require several antibiotics before they improve, and they eventually get to the point where they need something else done."

The balloon technology used in the sinuplasty treatment originated in the coronary angioplasty procedure, where a similar catheter with an expander, referred to as a balloon, is used to open an artery blocked with plaque to restore blood flow. Instead of opening an artery, the Acclarent catheter and expander Kanagy uses opens the sinuses.

"You're taking that 3 millimeter opening (of the sinus) and you're expanding it to 6 millimeters. And because it's very thin bone around there, as that heals, it stays open," Kanagy explained. "So, it's quite successful and it's enabling us to reach a lot of people, especially with the in-office (procedure), where these people may not want to go through an operation because of the recovery, so they just keep getting on the antibiotics. This offers them an option."

Kanagy said following the in-office procedure, patients leave the office with no packing in their nose, and most can get by with only over-the-counter pain medication, though something stronger may be prescribed if needed. He said most people can expect to miss a couple days of work, although someone with an office job may be able to return the next day.

Kanagy said the balloon sinuplasty can also be performed on pediatric patients as young as age 2, but in these cases it must be done in an operating room because children are unable to hold still in the office.

Kanagy said he believes the procedure will be used more and more for younger patients. "This is a great procedure for them because you're not changing the normal anatomy of the nose," he said. "You're not cutting or removing tissue; you're simply expanding an opening that's already there."

While it has great potential to benefit sinus patients, Kanagy noted the procedure is not an option for everyone. For those patients who have anatomic problems, such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum, additional work must be done in the operating room. "Every procedure's tailored to each specific patient and their needs. It is not a one-size-fits-all thing," he said.

There are also certain insurance companies that have yet to approve the in-office procedure, so those patients must have the procedure done as an outpatient surgery, although they may still be able to use local anesthesia.

To learn more about the balloon sinuplasty, contact Kanagy's office, located at 270 E. State St., Suite 245, at 330-596-6520.

200 East State Street   |   Alliance, Ohio 44601   |   Phone: (330) 596-6000   |
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