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On the Nose

For many people, nosebleeds are a nuisance. For David Farneti, 64, they became a matter of life or death. David had experienced frequent and heavy nosebleeds for years. Then they began to get worse. David underwent nose cauterization six times in just a few months — a procedure that seals problem blood vessels, creating scar tissue to prevent future bleeding. Despite treatment, David developed a nosebleed that sent him to a local emergency room.

“It was completely uncontrollable, unlike anything I had known before,” he recalls. “If I hadn’t made it to the ER, I could have bled out.”

An Urgent Situation

Emergency personnel used a balloon device to put pressure on David’s nasal cavity to stop the bleeding. But just hours later, his nose resumed bleeding. “This time I went to Jersey Shore University Medical Center,” says David. “I was just pouring blood. If I clamped my nose, the blood went down my throat and I started choking.”

The emergency staff at Jersey Shore stopped David’s bleeding and immediately sent him to John Roche, M.D., an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat, or ENT, specialist) affiliated with Bayshore Medical Center.

Specialized Surgery for a Complex Case

David’s case was complex because he took blood-thinning medications due to a heart condition. Dr. Roche planned surgical treatment that, with careful timing, would be safe for David and require him to be off his medication only briefly. The surgery involved reducing blood flow to David’s nose by placing clips on three major blood vessels close to the optic nerve.

“Using image guidance, I made a small incision in the corner of the eye and also worked endoscopically through the nose to work behind the sinuses at the skull base to access the major vessels that supply the nose internally,” explains Dr. Roche. Dr. Roche notes, “Our practice is unusual in that we have otolaryngologists trained in complex sinus and skull surgeries, offering more specialized procedures compared to most ENT practices in New Jersey.”

Relief at Last

The outpatient surgery at Bayshore was a success. Since then, David no longer suffers from recurrent nosebleeds and is thankful to be living life without worry. “From the moment I met Dr. Roche, I had confidence in him. I had a strong sense he had this under control,” says David. “I had no idea something like this was even possible. I’m lucky to be here.”

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