Having stuffed up sinuses feels lousy to say the least. Thankfully, a case of blocked sinuses usually only lasts for a couple of weeks, like when you have a cold or flu. But, sometimes sinusitis can drag on for longer. When a stuffy nose lingers, it can feel like you’ll never be able to breathe freely again. If you find yourself blocked up for 12 weeks or more, you may have chronic sinusitis. Luckily, an amazing new treatment using a tiny balloon could help you.

Sinuses explained

Allergies, colds, or changes in weather pressure can irritate and block your sinuses. Your sinuses are air-filled pockets hidden above, below and behind your eyes. They clean the air you breathe, filtering out bacteria before it gets to your lungs and are connected to your nose by tiny tubes called ostia. It’s these tiny tubes that can get blocked and swollen when you have a cold or allergy. In chronic sinusitis, your ostia stay blocked long after an infection or allergy has passed.

The traditional solution

Traditionally, chronic sinusitis is dealt with by operating under general anesthetic and patients would need a week or two off work to recover. Disappointingly, this surgery can be unsuccessful, meaning the painful experience and time off work is all for nothing. Understandably, many people decide not to bother with this surgery and live with their blocked nose.

New technology offers a breath of fresh air

It’s now possible to solve chronic sinusitis in as little as 30 minutes, with no knives, drills or general anesthetic. How? By inflating a tiny balloon inside your ostia to clear your nose. This new technique is called balloon sinuplasty.

We offer balloon sinuplasty here at Scottsdale Ears, Nose & Throat. It’s carried out using a small device that looks like a pistol with a flexible wand at the end. We guide this into your ostia, and once it’s in the right place, we press a button to inflate a tiny balloon at the end of the wand. The balloon pushes your ostia back into the right place, widening the tubes so you can breathe easily again.

If your blocked sinuses are driving you crazy, why not see if we can help you with balloon sinuplasty?

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Dr. Cheryl A. MacKechnie, MD

Dr. Cheryl A. MacKechnie is board certified in otolaryngology and treats a broad range of ear, nose, and throat conditions. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, she completed her residency in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
    You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again – Regina’s Story

    Regina has suffered from hearing problems since she was an infant, recognized as regular chronic ear infections. And, as with unfortunate events, she has experienced a multitude of audiology catastrophes.

    It was many years before Regina crossed paths with Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat; where her lifetime of hearing problems was addressed effectively and treated with the delicate care that she desperately required.

    Regina’s journey began when she was taken to a regular paediatrician by her mother from a young age. Her ears were, what we describe as an audiologists recipe for disaster, ‘flushed out’.

    This dangerous procedure caused a nasty infection, which spread to her mastoid bone and, at the age of 15, she underwent a tympanoplasty mastoidectomy to stop the infection spreading. This only forbade her future struggles with hearing loss. 

    As with poor diagnosis, Regina was faced with another canaloplasty which didn’t work. Soon after, she received a BAHA, which is a cochlear implant in her skull that acts as a sound processor that detects sound and transforms it into vibrations. 

    However, suffering from a history of poor hearing care, she was unaware of the former issues her ear presented.

    By now, this would be described as any audiologists nightmare. But, we’re proud to have helped Regina on her road to optimum hearing and reconnect her to her loved ones.

    When she arrived at Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat it was evident that she was losing hearing on her right side. At this point, she was fitted with a ReSound hearing device, which provided the catalyst to a new and improved hearing.

    The first thing Regina noticed was the indefinite sound she had been making whilst emptying the dishwasher, completely unaware of the noise she was making!

    “I mean, the detail that I can hear now it’s like, Whoa, I didn’t realize I was making that much noise. I need to be quieter!”

    Treated with professional care, Regina received a comprehensive hearing assessment with Dr. Debra Hamila.

    “I just love, love, love Dr. Hamila, she is such a professional and loving person. I was so impressed with the office and what she did with the ReSound, I just love her.”

    Like many others, it takes years for people to realize they have a hearing problem. Regina described this moment as life-changing.

    “You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again. Especially now I’m a full-time Grammy Nanny, I can hear so much more and it has enriched my life incredibly.”

    What advice would you give to someone who is deliberating on taking the first step towards better hearing?

    “My advice to them would be to have a hearing test. Especially as we age our hearing goes down. It’s really unfortunate that people carry their pride and are not willing to learn to walk with the rock in their shoe. You don’t realise you’re waking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again.”

    Regina is one of many patients who has been impacted by our audiological services and we are proud to have been able to provide the tool towards better hearing and a lifetime of many more memories.