Dr. Palmera visits Houston Live to discuss the balloon sinusplasty procedure and what to expect at American Sinus Institute.
Eric: This winter’s just been a really, really lonely one.
Speaker 2: Yeah, it really has. Thanks, Eric.
Eric: You bet.
Speaker 2: You know when the seasons change, sneezing and sleepless nights can follow, but how do you know when these are symptoms of more than just allergies? We have Dr. Robert Palmer from American Sinus Institute here to explain. And Dr. Palmer, you know a lot of folks this time of year are having the sniffling, the sneezing, the stuffy head from allergies, but how do you know you’re going from allergies to sinusitis?
Dr. Palmer: It’s difficult to tell, but usually you have a discolored discharge that will tell you that you an infection rather than just having symptoms of allergies. But it’s actually the symptoms are exactly the same. People who suffer from allergies end up with the headaches, the sneezing, they can’t breathe, and they have pressure and pain. And they benefit from surgery as well as people that have recurring sinusitis which is actually an infection. We treat both those.
Speaker 2: Okay. Okay so when you continually have issues with allergies, maybe they need to come in and say, “Hey Dr. Palmer, what’s going on up in here?”
Dr. Palmer: Exactly. In fact, these people are the ones that need to see us. I’d rather see them before they’re infected. You know, there’s a subtle difference between it, but people who have allergies are usually hit four or five times a year and when they have it, they’re miserable. They have headaches, they have a runny nose, they can’t breathe, the pressure pain. And it’s all because they don’t ventilate their sinuses and once we ventilate those sinuses, they feel 100% better.
Speaker 2: Well and sinus surgery now, I mean it’s … what you guys do is so different than it was, say 10, even 15, 20 years ago.
Dr. Palmer: Less is better. Less is better.
Speaker 2: That’s a good thing.
Dr. Palmer: I did a lot of sinus surgery. Probably did 2,000 cases endoscopically. This operation is so much better. There’s less trauma and we get a better result.
Speaker 2: Okay so we want to see what it’s like for when a patient comes through your office. So we’re going to take everybody through a little walkthrough when they go to American Sinus Institute.
Jason: Hi, I’m Jason.
Speaker 2: Hi, Jason. How are you.
Jason: It’s good to see you. Thanks for coming.
Speaker 2: So Jason, if I was a regular patient coming in, what would be the first thing that would happen now that I’m in the room?
Jason: So one of the nurses would come in and do a very thorough intake. They’d ask you about your history, of all kind of medicines that you’ve taken.
Speaker 2: Like do you snore? Do you, all those kind of questions. Can you sleep at night? Do you have ear pressure?
Jason: Headaches, sinus pressure, drainage. These are typical for our patients. Once that’s done, we take you over and get a CAT scan here in the other room. And it takes about five minutes to have that come up and then I will come in and do an exam and go over the CAT scan with you.
Speaker 2: So at this point, you’re just kind of figuring out what’s going on up in here, right?
Jason: Yeah. We want to see what does it look like, what’s the structure, and how can we address the structure so that the sinuses function ideally? Let me peek at you.
Speaker 2: Oh no.
Jason: And so I’ve got a scope.
Speaker 2: But you’ve actually done the surgery.
Jason: I have done the surgery. And the surgery helped me quite a bit. It relieved my headaches. So turn your head this way.
Speaker 2: Is everybody else a big wide-eyed when this comes towards their face?
Jason: All right, be very still.
Speaker 2: So this visit and the CAT scan is kind of where you make that decision of, “No, you’re just having allergy issues.” Or, “Yeah, you’re having major sinus issues.”
Erin: The scan only takes about 20 seconds.
Speaker 2: Oh it’s fast.
Erin: It’s really quick.
Speaker 2: Oh this has now turned into a rocket ship.
Erin: Yeah, it’s really quick and your only job is just to hold really still.
Speaker 2: I can do that.
Speaker 2: Okay.
Erin: So I’m just going to shine that little laser light here on you.
Speaker 2: And Erin, this is exactly what regular patients would go through.
Erin: Yes, this is exactly what they would go through. I’m going to-
Speaker 2: Oh, what are those?
Erin: These are just some little wedge sponges that are just going to hold your head in position. The next part is just the scan which takes about 20 seconds.
Speaker 2: And this would be what you would do at the regular patient after they’ve had the CAT scan like I just went and did. Or we’re using your CAT scan.
Speaker 2: Since you’ve had the surgery. So kind of walk me through what we’re seeing. I mean I can pick out where the eyes are. How many sinuses do we have?
Jason: Eight. There’s two in the cheeks.
Speaker 2: Okay.
Jason: Two between the eyes. And then two in the forehead.
Speaker 2: Oh, so that would be that sinus headache that people get?
Speaker 2: That’s where those are. Okay.
Jason: That’s where they’re feeling it.
Speaker 2: So how do you know in this? How do you know that it’s inflamed?
Jason: This gray is what we’re looking for in these patients. And so if they have this kind of gray, that can be washed out and cleaned. Some folks, all of the black is completely filled in with gray. So they’re not able to drain it all. And they’re miserable.
Speaker 2: So how quickly after you had it done, how quickly did you notice the difference of, “Wow. This is what it’s supposed to feel like breathing.”
Jason: For me it was instant.
Speaker 2: But it’s like a super quick, I mean you’re not put under for very long, right?
Jason: It’s a 30 minute surgery. It’s 30 minute prep time. 30 minutes procedure and you’re here about an hour hanging around afterwards.
Speaker 2: Just to make sure?
Jason: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Speaker 2: Okay so Dr. Palmer, I’m going to be that typical patient though. Do you leave that balloon up in there?
Dr. Palmer: We do not leave that balloon in here. Let me show you something here. This is the little catheter. It has the balloon on it and you can see how small it is.
Speaker 2: Well that’s smaller than the thing that Jason stuck up my nose.
Dr. Palmer: Well that was the scope. That was the scope. This is just the balloon. Well that goes into the sinus. See that from here to here. That will go into the sinus and then we take a syringe and we blow it up. It goes up to about six millimeters.
Speaker 2: Which is small.
Dr. Palmer: Which is small. The sinuses are only about one to two millimeters. And we dilate it for 10 seconds and then we take it out.
Speaker 2: So of course, Dr. Palmer, you know I had to be that one to ask, are you going to leave that balloon up in the nose, but I was so surprised with Jason. He said instantly right after the surgery could breather.
Dr. Palmer: Exactly.
Speaker 2: Could feel that the nose breathe, not breathing he’d done for year.
Dr. Palmer: Exactly. Yes, the balloon is taken out. It’s not left in your nose.
Speaker 2: You have got to ask.
Dr. Palmer: And the beauty about what we do, every time we operate somebody for the sinuses, we shrink the mucosa of the nose. Because if you can’t breathe, those sinuses can get blocked and then you breathe through your mouth.
Speaker 2: Right.
Dr. Palmer: You get a dry mouth and you snore. So the [groovia 00:06:28] technique, every time we address the turbinates and strength them with coblation, it’s a radio frequency device and it strengths it so now you can breathe and your sinuses will stay open.
Speaker 2: And the surgery itself, it’s very, very short and recovery time seems really short.
Dr. Palmer: Yes, 15 minutes is the shortest. Sometimes it takes me 30 minutes. A tough case would take 45. And the beauty is we don’t pack the nose. So when you leave, your nose is open.
Speaker 2: You can breathe.
Dr. Palmer: You can breathe.
Speaker 2: Oh.
Dr. Palmer: And within three or four days, you’re feeling 100% better.
Speaker 2: Dr. Palmer, you are changing lives every day with folks making them be able to breathe. Now for more information to schedule your appointment with American Sinus Institute, you can call 713-balloon that works out to be 713-225-5666 or visit www.americansinus.com. Thank you again, Dr. Palmer, for coming in.
Dr. Palmer: Appreciate it.
Speaker 2: Coming up next, the hassle free