New device helps patients with chronic sinusitis

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- We all know how uncomfortable allergies can be: stuffed up, unable to breathe and constantly blowing your nose.

Now imagine that all of the time. That's what it's like for people with chronic sinusitis, but a new device is offering some relief.

“You can see as I push it out, the implant is loaded into the device, and you will see it kind of will spring open,“ Valley ENT Dr. Michael Gutman explained as he showed us how the Propel implant works.

And while the implant might not look like something you want shot up into your nose, Gutman says, for many patients, this is just what they need to breathe easier.

“This is a groundbreaking device for use in sinus surgery," he said.

“For as long as I remember, I couldn't really breathe out of my nose," said patient Kyle Martinez. "I would always breathe out of my mouth. Apparently, I snored. I didn't know that until I got married, but it was just always congested, always blowing my nose."

And when Martinez visited Gutman, he found out why. He had chronic sinusitis.

“I was so congested and so swollen that some of my sinus cavities were completely closed off,” Martinez explained.

Gutman says Martinez was to the point where his only relief would be surgery.

“And again, surgery was taking down the small, bony partitions that obstruct the outflow of these sinuses within the face," Gutman said.

But Martinez had heard that surgery comes with some drawbacks.

“After you are done, they pack you full of gauze and then you have to pull it out," Martinez said. "I remember hearing about all this and I'm like, 'Nobody wants to do this.' ”

And Gutman explains there could also be some long-term issues.

“After sinus surgery, there is a certain incidence of scar formation, polyp reformation, re-obstruction of sinuses," he said.

But this Propel implant helps solve those problems. It holds the passage open, and it is also impregnated with a steroid to minimize inflammation and cut down on scar tissue.

“So it is really high delivery to the site of contact and very minimal to the bloodstream,” Gutman explained.

And it dissolves after several weeks, meaning patients like Martinez don't have to undergo further procedures, which really is a breath of fresh air.

“When you have your nose opened up and you walk outside, all of a sudden you smell all these other things,” Martinez said. “Like, 'Am I supposed to be smelling this? Does this smell weird?' It's just kind of weird stuff that I never would have thought would make a difference."

Again, the device is only for patients who have undergone nasal surgery.

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