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Exciting Advances for Chronic Sinusitis Sufferers

For years, cardiologists have used medical stents for everything from strengthening arteries in angioplasties to improving blood flow in the heart. Recently, the stent, a tube used to prevent or counteract localized flow constriction, has become an integral part of related surgeries.

Dr. Brian Weeks, an ears, nose and throat specialist at Alvarado Hospital, explained that specialists in the field of otolaryngology are trying to find new ways to provide patients with optimal results without having to undergo major surgery. Because the latest research in sinonasal disorders revolves around understanding the ways in which sinuses function and which newer therapies are most effective to treat mild to chronic conditions, minimally invasive procedures, like ones involving a stent, are often the most attractive choice for patients and doctors.

“One of the things I think is most exciting is the potential ability to deliver medications into the nose and sinuses via a draining stent or implant system,” Dr. Weeks said. “We are using these types of devices in controlled studies and are beginning to understand their effectiveness in current patients.”

The stent procedure begins with the insertion of a small balloon into the sinus cavity to open the area for the stent to be inserted. Once the cavity is unblocked a stent filled with prescription medication and an anti-inflammatory are placed in the sinus.

“Further research is being conducted to develop disposable or even permanent stents,” added Dr. Weeks. “Other advances will hopefully include stents that will be able to release medicine to keep sinuses from becoming blocked in the first place.