A Solution for Sinus Troubles

Patient Perspectives Kristen Hahn

November 19, 2018

Kristen Hahn, 32, suffered from ongoing sinus problems. In one year, she had five sinus infections due to chronic sinusitis, which caused her sinuses and nasal passages to become inflamed and swollen. And her deviated septum — the crooked bone and cartilage that separated her nasal cavity — caused breathing problems. The busy working mother of two needed relief. “My problems got so bad, it was difficult for me to work out at the gym,” explains Kristen. “I wanted to run on the treadmill but couldn’t breathe.” After trying many treatments, including antibiotics and saline rinsing, Kristen’s primary care physician, Alonzo Lorena-Chafart, D.O., affiliated with Ocean Medical Center, referred Kristen to Thomas Brandeisky, D.O., an ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician and plastic surgeon with Ocean.

Complexity of Sinus Problems

For Dr. Brandeisky, Kristen’s case was fairly straightforward. She needed her deviated septum repaired and sinus passages opened to improve breathing and ease sinus pressure. But many of Dr. Brandeisky’s patients have more complex needs. “We do an extensive evaluation on every patient to identify the cause of sinus problems. Patients may have the same symptoms, but their problems can stem from different reasons,” explains Dr. Brandeisky. For example, nasal and sinus symptoms can be caused by allergies, immune disorders, reflux disease, neurological disorders, past facial trauma, dental problems and much more.

“Often, we are able to treat sinus issues without surgery by addressing the underlying cause,” says Dr. Brandeisky. “For patients with chronic sinusitis who have symptoms for more than 12 weeks, don’t respond to other treatments and are not found to have a specific disorder, surgery is often the best treatment.”

Breathing Better With Surgery

To help Kristen breathe easier, Dr. Brandeisky performed a septoplasty to correct her deviated septum. He also opened the sinus passages with a minimally invasive procedure, removing blockages to sinus drainage. The minimally invasive surgery was performed through the nose using a thin, lighted tool called an endoscope. Computed tomography (CT) scans also helped Dr. Brandeisky carefully plan the surgery.

“Years ago, sinus surgery was performed as open surgery, which involved making incisions in the face. Today, we treat sinus disease much more effectively and less invasively,” says Dr. Brandeisky. Kristen couldn’t be happier since undergoing her outpatient surgery four months ago. Today, she is back to her busy lifestyle without any breathing issues and has had fewer sinus infections. “It’s like I have a new nose,” says Kristen. “I feel amazing.”

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