HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - There is something very new going on. A patient is awake and lucid while the physician probes into her sinuses. A probe light shines from the inside out, guiding the physician.
Former patient, Wesley Alexander, understands how sinus problems can affect lifestyle.
"My entire life I've suffered from severe sinus infections. My quality of life was terrible. I was probably suffering from four to six sinus infections per year," he said.
Many patients, like Michael Fleming, don't consider major surgery as an option.
"I did not want to have surgery which the down time. We all know about that from work recovery," said Fleming.
Both patients were surprised when they learned about a new procedure from ENT Specialist, Dr. Neeta Kohli-Dang.
"The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia in our office. It can also be performed under general anesthesia, for instance, children or adults who prefer to have it in a hospital setting," said Kohli-Dang. "Balloon sinus treatment is a relatively new procedure. It involves a small balloon that is used to dilate sinus openings, allowing drainage and resolution of infection."
It takes longer to set up a patient for the procedure than the procedure itself. Set up time? About 30 minutes. The actual procedure time is about five or six minutes.
Patient Wesley Alexander said that was a good thing.
"I was overly surprised about how easy it was. We did it in the office. It took about an hour. It was completely painless, and I probably could have gone to work the same day," he said.
Six months later, life has changed for Alexander.
"Quality of life has just sky rocketed. I mean, just the biggest thing that I noticed is that I'm sleeping a lot better. My wife tells me I don't snore as much, which is a plus for both of us. And just being able to breathe is a huge relief for me," he added.
Fleming's procedure was three months ago.
"What it's done is the infection, it's the pressure, the headaches - all those symptoms gone," Fleming said.
Physicians say some patients report relief immediately.