Balloon dialation can relieve agony of sinus infections

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Millions of us deal with the pain of sinus infections - it's one of the most commmon health problems, and for some, they keep coming back.

Now, a Macomb woman says enough is enough - she's hoping a balloon will help her breath.

She's been getting the infections since she was 18, but now, at the age of 70, Hope Reed said she's tired of the agony of sinus infections. 

"It makes you very tired, get migraines, sinus pressure, draining, stomach upset. It's bad," Reed said.

Wanting to breath easier, Hope is about to undergo something called balloon sinus dialation. The goal is to clear out the sinus passages.

When those blockages are a constant problem and infections keep coming back, ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr. Robert T. Standring, MD said the balloon dilation might be a good option.

"We do not make any type of incision on the outside of the face, we go up only through the nose and with an instrument, along with a camera, into the sinus passages. So it can go up through this passage in the nose, up into the forehead," Standring explained.

Once the balloon is in place, it's temporarily inflated, and then removed.

"It crushes the tissue like a rice crispy treat. That rice krispy treat doesn't pop back open," Standring said.

22-year-old Grace Dayton says that tiny balloon changed her life.

"I can actually take a deep breath through my nose, which before I couldn't do. I feel like i'm sleeping better. Its removed my allergy symptoms," Dayton said.

The sinuplasty takes less than an hour, and Hope is realizing it's never too late to breathe clearly.

"I feel wonderful about the surgery. I think it might give me a new lease on life, " she said.

Who needs this procedure? It depends on how many sinus infections you get a year, and how long they last. An ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) can tell you if this procedure will work for you.