Singing the praises: How a tiny device is easing the misery of sinusitis, one song at a time

June 19th, 2017

Julia Foster of Winter Park, Fla., has been plagued with constant debilitating sinus infections for more than 20 years, ever since she was in middle school. A professional classical and soprano opera singer and voice teacher, her symptoms of congestion and sinus pressure affected her personal and professional life, making even her teeth hurt. And what’s worse, it made it hard for her to do what she loved best: to sing.

Two sinus surgeries involving months-long recoveries and countless saline rinses, nasal nebulizers, antibiotics, and steroids provided temporary relief. But nothing worked for the long term for her and the infections continued to return.

“Although the acute flare-up might go away, I'd still feel the wear and tear, and feel just kind of worn down from the sinus infection,” Julia recalled.

Today, Julia has found welcome relief, courtesy of Orlando otolaryngologist Jeffrey Lehman, MD, with sinus surgery and a tiny device called the PROPEL sinus stent.

Chronic sinusitis: Ongoing suffering

Sinusitis is one of the most common health conditions in the U.S., affecting one in eight adults, Dr. Lehman explains. Symptoms include drainage of thick yellow or green mucus, nasal blockage or congestion, difficulty breathing, pain and tenderness around the eyes and nose, reduced sense of smell, fatigue and even depression.

The sinuses are comprised of cavities within the front of the skull that allow for natural airflow and drainage. Chronic sinusitis–inflammation that lasts longer than 12 weeks–causes the linings of these cavities to become inflamed and swollen. Treating this condition often requires a complex combination of medicine and surgical treatments, each carrying their own side effects and risks.

Sinus surgery to treat chronic sinus infections involves enlarging the sinus openings. Although sinus surgery can be effective, some patients can have their symptoms return within the first year – and Julia was one of them. She needed a third procedure.

How PROPEL sinus stent works

Dr. Lehman suggested that Julia would benefit from the use of an innovative technology called PROPEL sinus stent, which was approved by the FDA in 2011 and has been used to treat more than 100,000 patients since then. PROPEL is a tiny stent that a physician places in the sinuses after surgery. There, it stays in place to prop the sinus open.

Over the next 30 days, the PROPEL stent slowly releases an advanced medicine with anti-inflammatory properties directly into the sinus tissues to help reduce swelling. The entire device then dissolves in 30 to 45 days.

PROPEL has been shown to reduce inflammation and scarring after surgery and to reduce the need for additional procedures as well as oral steroids.

Julia was intrigued with the concept of PROPEL. “I really trust my doctor, so when he suggested that we use these PROPEL sinus stents, I was onboard right away,” she said. “I was really happy with the idea that it would keep swelling down, and keep everything open in there during the recovery.”

A successful outcome

“Before PROPEL was available, I had some significant challenges dealing with more complicated patients with intense inflammatory disease,” Dr. Lehman said. “Julia had a history of recurrent and chronic sinusitis issues that persisted. I felt that using PROPEL up in that area would help deliver medication right to that point of swelling and inflammation and make it heal better.”

And it did. Less than two weeks after the surgery with PROPEL sinus stents, Julia was back to performing at full capacity. Her recovery was easier and faster than from past sinus surgeries, and she feels much better as well.

Julia encourages anyone suffering from chronic sinus infections to talk with their doctor about their options.

“It's amazing that I could go from having such a bad sinus infection to have that clear, and to feel like everything is open,” she said. “It made such a huge difference, to be able to go into those performances feeling great, feeling like I'm at the top of my game.”

Although many patients benefit from PROPEL sinus stents, results vary. Please talk to your doctor to see if PROPEL sinus stent is right for you. Your doctor can discuss the benefits and risks with you. Each patient experience is unique and Intersect ENT does not provide any guarantee regarding the response to PROPEL sinus stents.

 

Why find an ENT physician ?

If you suffer from chronic sinus infections, you may need to see an ENT physician, who is also called an ear, nose, and throat doctor or an otolaryngologist. These specialized physicians are experts in both the medical and surgical management of chronic sinusitis.

Intersect ENT makes information about physicians and facilities that offer PROPEL® sinus stents available. Physicians and facilities are listed based upon proximity to the zip code you have entered.

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Safety Information

The purpose of the site is to help create awareness about sinusitis and treatment options for the disease. Please note that information contained on this site is not medical advice. It should not be used as a substitute for speaking with your physician. Always talk with your physician about diagnosis and treatment information.

The PROPEL sinus implants are intended for use after sinus surgery to maintain patency and to locally deliver steroids to the sinus mucosa: PROPEL for use in the ethmoid sinus, PROPEL Mini for use in the ethmoid sinus and frontal sinus opening, and PROPEL Contour for use in the frontal and maxillary sinus ostia. The implants are intended for use in patients ≥18 years of age. Contraindications include patients with intolerance to mometasone furoate (MF) or a hypersensitivity to bioabsorbable polymers. Safety and effectiveness of the implants in pregnant or nursing females have not been studied. Risks may include, but are not limited to, pain/pressure, displacement of implant, possible side effects of intranasal MF, sinusitis, epistaxis, and infection. For complete prescribing information see IFU at www.IntersectENT.com. Rx only.

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