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Minimally Invasive Treatment for Chronic Sinus Infections Now Available at St. Mary Medical Center
Balloon Sinuplasty™ is newest technology to relieve symptoms.

LANGHORNE, Pa., July 13, 2009 – Dr. Benjamin Chack is among ear, nose and throat specialists on the medical staff at St. Mary Medical Center, who are now performing Balloon Sinuplasty™ to relieve symptoms of chronic sinus infections. The FDA-approved minimally invasive technology uses a small catheter and balloon to quickly open and expand blocked sinuses. This advance in sinus surgery provides patients with a less invasive option while reducing overall discomfort.

“This is a valuable addition in our toolbox for endoscopic sinus surgery, and St. Mary is in the top 10 percent nationwide in volume and good patient outcomes in performing this unique procedure,” says Dr. Chack.

Balloon Sinuplasty™ is considered an evolution in endoscopic sinus surgery. With the patient under general anesthesia, a small, flexible balloon catheter is placed through a nostril into the blocked sinus passageway, and then inflated to gently restructure and open the sinus passageway by pushing aside bones which comprise the sinus ostia to create wider openings. The procedure restores normal sinus drainage and function and can significantly reduce post-operative pain and bleeding.

Dr. Chack will present the benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty™ at The Sinus Forum 2009, a national conference on minimally invasive alternatives for sinus surgery, to be held in July in Washington, D.C.

More than 37 million Americans suffer from at least one episode of acute sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common chronic health problems. Patients typically suffer headaches, congestion, fatigue and other symptoms that can impact their physical and emotional quality of life. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus lining caused by bacterial, viral and/or microbial infections as well as structural issues like blockages of the sinus opening (ostium). If the sinus opening (ostium) is closed, normal mucus drainage may not occur – a condition that can lead to infection and inflammation of the sinuses. Often, the resulting nasal pressure, congestion, runny nose and fever, run their course in a few days. If sinusitis occurs frequently or lasts three months or longer, it may be considered chronic.

Until recently, most sinusitis patients were treated with either medical therapy, such as antibiotics and topical nasal steroids, or conventional sinus surgery, such as Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) to enlarge the sinus opening. Medical therapy can help alleviate symptoms for 75 to 80 percent of patients. For those who get little relief from medical therapy, sinus surgery is often the recommended option. However, FESS, although an endoscopic procedure, often requires the removal of bone and tissue in order to open up blocked sinus passageways. Many patients choose to live with painful sinus conditions rather than undergo FESS surgery.

With the Sinuplasty™ procedure, there is less surgical intervention, bleeding and pain are reduced, and recovery time is quicker, says Dr. Chack. Many patients can return to normal activities quicker and have had significant improvement in their symptoms and quality of life.

Physicians who have been specially trained to perform Balloon Sinuplasty™ at St. Mary Medical Center include Drs. Benjamin Chack, John Gallagher, Judith Gallagher-Braun, Howard Hammer and Jeffrey Briglia, practicing with Bucks ENT Associates, and Drs. Mark Burnstein, Brett Moses, Joel Jaffe and Lee Miller, practicing with ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery Associates.