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Finding relief from sinus problems

Whether it’s headaches and facial discomfort, or difficulty breathing and smelling, sinus problems take a physical and mental toll, and finding a solution isn’t easy. Even though over-the-counter treatment options are available, many only provide temporary relief.

“If you’ve tried those, and are not meeting with success, I think it’s worthwhile to see a specialist, like myself, for at least an examination and a direction of what to do and where to go next,” said Scott Kay M.D., F.A.C.S of Princeton Otolaryngology Associates.

The board-certified specialist, who has been named either Top Doctor of the Metro Area or Top Doctor of New Jersey every year for the past 13 years, said that minimally-invasive surgical approaches can correct sinus problems, eliminate airway obstructions and, ultimately, make patients more comfortable.

When to Think About Surgery

Individuals who suffer from repeat sinus infections and congestion may want to thinking about a more permanent remedy.

“Once they’ve done medical management, which would be anti-histamines, nasal steroid sprays, antibiotics or systemic steroids, or allergy treatments, and if they were to have a chronic, ongoing problem with their sinuses, or they were having more than four infections per year, then they would be considered to be candidates for surgical procedure,” Dr. Kay said.

Balloon sinuplasty, performed under local anesthesia, is a minimally-invasive approach that helps patients who experience difficulty breathing due to airway obstruction or blockages.

“Balloon sinuplasty is a procedure in which a wire is thread through an opening in the sinus. We then insert a balloon along the wire and into the sinus, where it is inflated. Once inflated, the sinus is allowed to drain.” Dr. Kay said. “That can either be done in the office or it can be done in the operating room

While this procedure can alleviate long-term discomfort, relief is not immediate for all patients.

“It’s more like a two-to-six week period where there has to be some resolution of swelling and inflammation that comes from having a procedure done on the sinuses,” Dr. Kay said. “The sinuses don’t like to be traumatized or hassled with. They react to that. So, there has to be a sort of resolution of inflammation in order for you to feel complete relief. But depending on the situation, some people can feel relief right away, especially if they are having headaches or real pressure occurring in the sinuses. Those people do get relief almost immediately after an operation.”

Dr. Kay said that if patients meet certain criteria, these procedures are covered by insurance as they are not considered cosmetic.

Still, many patients live with ongoing sinus issues because they believe there are no other treatment options. But that’s not true, Dr. Kay said. People can be cured of their sinus problems; it’s just a matter of getting the right treatment.

“I see it all the time,” he said. “I’ve had people come in and just because they’ve been seen by other doctors and had other operations, that doesn’t mean that their problems are not fixable. I can do a few extra things, and they can be rid of the sinus problems. They should feel comfortable about either getting second opinions and being fully evaluated.”

Dr. Kay said his practice has thousands of success stories who make his work “very gratifying.”

Even his patients agree. “He is highly professional, very focused, and very patiently listened to me and answered all my questions,” Dominique Leclercq said. “After suffering for months from sinus problems and feeling miserable, I followed Dr Kay’s recommendation to have a surgery. The care and treatments were amazing the entire time and very accurate. He explained every part of the surgery and what I could expect for recovery. Dr Scott Kay solved my sinus problem, I can breathe through my nose, I can smell, and I can sleep now.”

-Elizabeth Alterman

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