Medical House Call: Sinus problems

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - There's a condition affecting 37 million Americans, both adults and children. Experts say that number is more than those who suffer from arthritis or hypertension. The doctors at ear, nose and throat, Hattiesburg Clinic said this sickness causes pain, infections and can impact many people's quality of life.

"Every few weeks I was on antibiotics. Coming to the doctor constantly miserable," said Felicia Tice.

Tice thought for years her relentless discomfort and sickness were just allergies.

"Pressure between my nose and eyes, up under my eyes, headaches," said Tice

Her doctor told her she suffered from chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis.

"I decided to go ahead with the balloon," said Tice

Dr. Michael Hammet explained the treatment.

"It's called balloon sinuplasty. It's basically taking a technology that we have done before and just making it less invasive," said Hammet.

Hammet, a doctor at Hattiesburg clinic's ear, nose and throat office, said for years, sinusitis has been treated with surgery, but now there's a balloon.

"If the fluid does not drain from these sinus cavities it just comes right back," said Hammet.

Hammet explained the ballon sinuplasty goes into the sinus cavities and remodels the bone when it's inflated. It dilates that area, relieving fluid and/or pressure that builds up  due to sinusitis.

Dr. James Hodges said since February they've done more than 100 of the balloon sinuplasy procedures. He says once the doctors have a patients history, a clear cat scan, and agree to do the procedure the patient can be in and out the same day.

"This is local. Can be done at the office, go home say day," said Hodges.

If you are worried about pain, or a long procedure, the doctors said there is no need.

"I think it takes more time to numb you up and get you ready to do the procedure than to do the procedure."

Luke Thompson said that was true for tice's procedure which he performed in may, three stages of numbing, and she was awake the entire time.

"Eventually, we inject around known areas where the nerve comes out and distributes into the nerve to give it a little block, what's called a regional block and then we get started,"said Thompson.

"The next day I was back and going. I didn't have to take any kind of pain medicine. I was back to my normal routine. I would recommend anyone doing it," said Tice.

Tice said it has been over two months and she hasn't had any problems with her sinuses. Hammett said if you are wondering if this is permanent that he doesn't have the answer to that. He also said so far all the patients feel great. For more information you can call ear, nose and throat-Hattiesburg clinic at 601-579-3310