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Cutting-Edge Endoscopic Technique Offers New Hope to Patients with Chronic Sinus Pain



Fifteen-year-old Maggie Parks of Garden City couldn’t make it through a shopping trip without having a coughing fit.

“I was literally coughing every hour of the day,” said Maggie. “People would stare and ask me if I was sick.”

But Maggie wasn’t sick as strangers supposed; she was just one of the 37 million people suffering from sinusitis.

Sinusitis occurs when the cavities around the nasal passages (sinuses) become inflamed. This interferes with normal drainage in the sinuses, causing mucus to build up. Characterized by a cough, facial pain or pressure, nasal congestion, and headache among other symptoms, sinusitis that continues for an extended period of time is considered chronic.

Like many sinus sufferers, Maggie’s chronic sinusitis infringed on her life. She was frequently absent from school and lost interest in playing sports due to exhaustion. Her mother, Margaret Parks, was desperate to find a way to get her daughter some relief.

“We tried everything – medications, sprays, even nasal pots which clear toxins from the nose – and Maggie still had no relief!” said Mrs. Parks. “We knew there had to be something out there that could help her.”

In August, Mrs. Parks took her daughter for an evaluation by Winthrop otolaryngologist Warren H. Zelman, MD, a specialist in the full range of pediatric and adult otolaryngology, head and neck surgery.

“We needed answers and were confident that Dr. Zelman would leave no stone unturned,” said Mrs. Parks.

Upon thorough examination and comprehensive testing, Dr. Zelman determined that Maggie was an ideal candidate for a minimally invasive endoscopic technique using Balloon Sinuplasty™ – just one of the many advanced technologies available to ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) patients at Winthrop.

“Balloon Sinuplasty is a cutting-edge device that ventilates and drains the sinus with virtually no risk to the patient,” said Dr. Zelman.

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“Not all sinusitis is the same. Medical therapy can alleviate symptoms for some chronic sinusitis sufferers, but for others like Maggie, medical modalities alone are not enough. These patients may be candidates for Balloon Sinuplasty,” added Dr. Zelman.

Balloon Sinuplasty – the latest evolution in endoscopic sinus surgery – involves the placement of a small, flexible balloon catheter through the nostril into the blocked sinus passageway. When the balloon is inflated, it gently restructures and ventilates the blocked nasal passages to restore normal sinus drainage and function. The technique is often used in conjunction with other forms of endoscopic sinus surgery.

Maseih Moghaddassi, MD, otolaryngologist at Winthrop, began using this cutting-edge technology as soon as it was approved by the FDA. Dr. Moghaddassi is an advocate for the device which “provides an excellent option for a large patient population where medical therapy wasn’t enough, but conventional surgery was too aggressive.” In addition, Dr. Moghaddassi notes the important advantages it has over traditional sinus surgery.

3 “Some patients refrain from having sinus surgery because of fear of bone or tissue removal, or post-operative packing. Balloon Sinuplasty eliminates the need for both, so there is no reason for these patients to suffer any longer,” added Dr. Moghaddassi.

What’s more, the advanced Relieva Luma™ Sinus Illumination System that is used by ENT surgeons at Winthrop – the latest in the Acclarent family of Balloon Sinuplasty devices – uses targeted fiber optic light, which illuminates the inside of the sinus cavity to ease placement of the balloon within the sinus. In addition, this technology provides safe and effective access to the frontal sinus – the most difficult sinus to access due to its close proximity to the brain. It also eliminates the need for x-rays so patients aren’t exposed to unnecessary radiation.

“Winthrop’s Division of Otolaryngology is at the vanguard of a new era in image-guided endoscopic sinus surgery,” said Dr. Moghaddassi.

Just like the ENT surgeons at Winthrop, Theresa Criscitelli, RN, CNOR, Assistant Manger of the Ambulatory Surgery Unit at Winthrop, who is in charge of ENT surgery, is passionate about providing cuttingedge care to patients at Winthrop.

“We are always looking toward expanding and being at the forefront of new treatment modalities,” said Ms. Criscitelli. “Balloon Sinuplasty is revolutionary – nothing compares to it! It is truly a new phase in ENT surgery in the era of minimally invasive procedures.”

Maggie Parks underwent the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure with Dr. Zelman on September 24, 2008 and within two days Maggie’s symptoms began to resolve. Today, she no longer suffers from an unrelenting cough and her mother is grateful.

“The silence of Maggie not coughing is deafening!” said Mrs. Parks.

Maggie, currently a student at Sacred Heart Academy, is now focusing her renewed energy on her studies and is grateful for the cutting-edge care she received at Winthrop.

“Dr. Zelman and his staff were extremely comforting and professional,” she said. “After the surgery, I felt 100 percent different. And best of all, I can go places and not have to worry that people will think I’m sick.”

The Division of Otolaryngology at Winthrop is staffed by a team of expert otolaryngologists who are trained to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases of the ears, nose and throat.

“Winthrop’s Division of Otolaryngology offers one of the best ENT services on Long Island,” said Anthony Durante, MD, Chief of the Division of Otolaryngology at Winthrop. “Balloon Sinuplasty is the most recent addition to the armamentarium of advanced therapies that we are privileged to provide to the community.”

Physicians in the Division of Otolaryngology at Winthrop are committed to offering patients the latest options for the treatment of a variety of diseases of the head and neck. In addition to Dr. Zelman and Dr. Moghaddassi, Winthrop otolaryngologists Paul Bell, MD; Michael Cohen, MD; Emil Ganjian, MD; Saul Modlin, MD; Nathan Monhian, MD; and Alexander Sorin, MD, are also trained in the advanced Balloon Sinuplasty technology.

For more information about Balloon Sinuplasty or for a list of Winthrop ENTs in your area, call 1-866-WINTHROP.
Vol. 19, No. 2
Summer 2009

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