Easier Sinus Surgery for Kids

June 10, 2009 6:19:32 PM PDT
When treatments for kids with chronic sinus problems fail, surgery is often an option. Traditional sinus operations may require packing and tissue removal. They can be hard on adults and even harder on children. Now, a new procedure repairs the problem of clogged sinuses and gets kids back on their feet the next day. For Andre Martinez, homework isn't a bore. It's the challenge that makes it fun every time.

"It's all about puzzles," Andre told Ivanhoe. "You always have to figure things out."

For years, Andre was the puzzle. He suffered from severe headaches that sometimes landed him in the emergency room.

"I just had to like take some Tylenol and go to my room, shut the windows, close the door, and just bury my head under the pillow," Andre recalled.

Trips to the pediatrician, neurologist and allergist offered no solutions.

"We did not know what to do for him," Michelle Martinez, Andre's mom, told Ivanhoe.

Finally, the answer came from an ear, nose and throat doctor. Andre's headaches were caused by sinus infections, which were worsened by his very small sinus openings.

Because antibiotics didn't work, he needed surgery. Surgeons used a new, scalpel-free procedure to open up Andre's sinuses.

"We want to get their sinuses to drain right down the back of their nose," Mitchell Austin, M.D., a pediatric otolaryngologist at Nemours in Orlando, Fla., told Ivanhoe.

A wire with a tiny balloon attached is threaded into the sinus opening. The balloon is inflated and held for 30 seconds, widening the sinus cavity. The balloon and wire are then removed.

The procedure requires no cutting or tissue removal, which reduces bleeding and discomfort.

"Children are usually, the next day, jumping around, doing fine," Dr. Austin said.

That was the case for Andre. Eight months after surgery, he's enjoying a migraine-free life.

"I don't have to go to my room and close the blinds like I used to do," he said.

Andre's medical puzzle is solved, so now he can tackle his own.

The procedure is for children who have chronic sinus disease or a recurrent acute sinus problem.

Risks include brain fluid leakage, visual changes and infection, which are the same risks of standard sinus surgery.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT:
Jarrod Cady, Public Relations
Nemours
Orlando, FL
(407) 650-7462
jcady@nemours.org

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