NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dry mouth, congestion and trouble sleeping — if you suffer from sinus problems, you know these symptoms well.
Relief usually means medications and breathing strips, or even surgery, but CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez says there’s a new, easier approach.
Linda Wells tried everything to treat her chronic sinus symptoms.
“Nasal sprays, antibiotics off and on, allergy pills,” Wells said.
But it wasn’t allergies. The problem was the shape of her nasal cavity.
Ten of millions of Americans suffer sinus pain and inflammation due to nasal obstructions, which often require surgery to fix. But experts are studying how a new non-invasive procedure can modify airflow and improve symptoms like chronic congestion, fatigue and difficulty breathing.
“This is a great procedure for people who have a narrow nasal valve or nasal valve collapse,” said Dr. Brad Otto of Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. “Also, people who don’t have significant septal deviation or other issues that’s causing the nasal obstruction.”
Instead of painful surgery to remove bone or tissue in the nasal cavity, the obstructions are gently reduced through a wand that targets energy towards the affected tissue. No general anesthesia and no long recovery.
“The procedure is done in the office. It only takes a few minutes to perform, and patients can actually leave the office and go back to work or get on with their daily activities for that day,” Dr. Otto said.
By using a computer simulation of airflow through the nasal passage, Dr. Otto can measure how a little change in the physical structure can make a big difference in a patient’s breathing.
“So far, most people seem to be impressed with the type of change it is causing in the nasal valve region, and the results they’re experiencing,” Dr. Otto said.
Results that have allowed Wells to finally get outside and enjoy spring days.
“I kind of feel excited about summer, this year, really excited, because I feel like I’ll be able to do things,” she said.
Unlike treatment options like medications or breathing strips, these results are permanent.
While the Wexner Medical Center is the only site conducting the study, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved the non-invasive procedure, making it available to patients everywhere.