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Patients Get Relief from Sinus Balloon Procedure in Austin

Updated: Friday, August 23 2013, 11:01 AM CDT

Sinus sufferers, there's an innovative procedure in Austin that can blow open your sinuses in minutes. Doctors inflate a balloon to relieve pressure in your facial cavities. KEYE TV got a first-hand look at the in-office procedure.

Dr. Dan Slaughter of the Nasal and Sinus Center of Austin blows open a sinus cavity using only a small balloon inserted through the patient's nose.

"Now I'm slipping the balloon around the corner into it."

He will use the same technique six times during the procedure to expand the frontal sinus cavities above the brow, the maxillary sinus cavities in the cheeks and the sphenoid sinuses at the back of the nose. Each time the balloon is inflated to expand the area and then removed.

"I try not to think about it too much. It's kinda creepy having somebody stick a balloon in your face," said patient Tim Merriweather.

Merriweather is getting the Balloon Sinuplasty done to relieve his chronic sinus infections. "See that grey material that's inside that sinus cavity?" Dr. Slaughter points out the infection on Merriweather's CT scan.

"It's one of those things that you just kinda learn to live with and then you understand after awhile, this isn't how it's supposed to feel," said Merriweather.

While it may look intimidating, it's not surgery. There's no cutting, no recovery and only local anesthesia. It only takes about 15 minutes.

"The best way you can kind of corrolate it is if you had like a minor dental procedure," said Dr. Slaughter.

"Well I didn't believe them!" said Merriweather. "I mean how can you do all that in 10 or 15 minutes, but of course with modern technology of course they can."

Brigette McNamara had the procedure done three weeks ago and says it works. "Not only can you breathe, you can smell better, you can taste better."

Like Merriweather, she too was a chronic sinus and allergy sufferer.

"Modern medicine, it's amazing what they can do and I'm looking forward to feeling better," said Merriweather.

Dr. Slaughter says insurance covers most procedures and less than two percent of patients suffer any complications.

--Deeda Payton, KEYE TV News.

Patients Get Relief from Sinus Balloon Procedure in Austin

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