Sinus Patients May Benefit from Surgery, Study Finds

sinusLike a relentless opponent in a boxing match, sinus infections refuse to stay down for long.  Bombard them with antibiotics, blast them with nasal sprays, attack them with hot compresses and decongestants–sinus infections have a way of returning full-force to inflict more misery. Sinusitis, or inflammation of the nasal passages, is characterized by symptoms including facial pain, headaches, fatigue and congestion. The American Rhinological Society estimates that 35 million people in the U.S. suffer from sinusitis, making it the most common chronic illness in the country. Americans spend billions of dollars per year attempting to treat sinusitis. 

A new study by Oregon Health and Science University indicates that minimally invasive surgery can significantly benefit adults with chronic sinusitis. A total of 302 patients were followed for 18 months after undergoing endoscopic sinus surgery. Up to 76 percent of subjects reported improved quality of life after the surgery, including less pain and better social functioning.

Many patients seeking long-term relief from chronic sinusitis opt for endoscopic surgery, in which a catheter-like device is inserted into the sinuses (hollow spaces inside the skull that are connected to the nasal cavity) to clear blockages. One company specializing in such devices is Acclarent of Menlo Park, Calif.  The company’s Balloon Sinuplasty system uses a catheter to widen the sinus passageways and allow for normal sinus drainage and function. 

For patients who are leery of undergoing sinus surgery, other companies are developing products to relieve chronic sinusitis:

OptiNose produces devices for the nasal delivery of drugs and vaccines. 

Atos Medical ‘s SinoJect device uses a catheter to irrigate the maxillary sinus.  

SinoFresh Healthcare markets homeopathic, antiseptic remedies for sinus problems.

NeilMed Pharmaceuticals makes nasal irrigation systems to wash mucus and bacteria out of the nasal passages.

National Allergy Supply sells a variety of products for sinus and allergy relief, from air purifiers to nasal irrigation systems.

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