Balloon procedure brings relief to chronic sinus sufferers

Pressure. Pain. Post nasal drip. The long list of symptoms goes on for those living with chronic sinusitis.

“Sinusitis is so common. It disturbs your everyday function. Patients develop a lot of facial pain and you are less productive when you’re not feeling well,” explained Dr. Andrea Williams, an ENT specialist with Carolina Sinus Center.

Williams is performing more and more balloon sinuplasty procedures which are providing relief to those who suffer from chronic sinusitis.

“I was so clogged I couldn’t breathe,” said Wanda Meekins. During a recent visit to the office Meekins, 66, explained what she was living with. The pain was impacting her sleep and even her ability to sing in her church choir.

After discussing options, Meekins went through with the balloon plasty procedure.

“It’s kind of like unclogging a drain and creating a wider drain,” described Dr. Williams who performs the procedure in her South Charlotte office.

It takes about 30 minutes. During that time Williams uses a tiny flashlight, a guide wire and a balloon to navigate to reach a patient’s sinuses.

“When you dilate the balloon it remodels the sinus area,” said Williams. “You don’t have to do all the cutting and a patient can tolerate the procedure and they can return to work in a day.”

As part of the procedure Williams also flushes out the buildup of mucus. The surgery isn’t a complete fix Williams wants.

“The surgery only addresses the obstruction. If a patient has allergies the procedure alone won’t cure your allergies so we have to medically manage your allergies,” said Williams.

The tiny balloon is bringing big relief to patients like Wanda Meekins.

“I feel great and I can sleep at night,” said Meekins.

Now Meekins is back to holding the high notes even longer.

“My choir director is quite pleased. I’m on the front row,” laughed Meekins.