Chronic Sinus Infection Sufferers: Relief is Now Around the Corner!

Millions of Americans are diagnosed with sinusitis each year and continue to suffer with chronic sinusitis and its undesirable symptoms. Sinusitis is an inflammatory condition in which the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed, causing fluid or mucus build up within the sinuses. This can contribute to painful symptoms like sinus headaches, uncomfortable pressure, nasal discharge, congestion, and a persistent cough. Patients who suffer from sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics, decongestants and steroids, but this can only do so much to manage symptoms.

For those who suffer from poor sinus drainage and sinusitis, there is now relief right around the corner! ENT Associates of Central PA offers balloon sinus dilation within their practice as an in-office, outpatient procedure that will help patients breathe easier. Before, patients would have to go to the hospital and go under general anesthesia to have this procedure, but not anymore.

“ …Being able to perform balloon sinus dilation in-office allows a more convenient, less invasive option for our patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis,” said Dr. Howells, M.D., F.A.C.S., a physician at ENT Associates of Central PA. “No longer do you have to take two days off of work, worry about a risk of infection from being in the hospital, or recouping for general anesthesia symptoms.”

The procedure involves the use of local anesthesia to provide comfort for the patient as their physician inserts a balloon catheter using a scope into the patient’s narrowed or blocked sinus passage. Then, once inside the natural sinus passage, the physician will then expand the balloon to reopen the sinus passage to allow natural drainage to occur. In some instances, patients may feel instant relief. In most cases, patients will be completely symptom-free within weeks from the procedure, and enhance their quality of life.

Paula Ford, who received the balloon sinus dilation procedure at ENT Associates of Central PA in December 2019, has been symptom-free ever since. “I was having sinus infections and problems for about 10 years prior to my procedure,” Paula explained. “I was constantly visiting my doctor and eventually they suggested I see a specialist, which led me to Dr. Howells.”

Paula was met with a thorough assessment of her sinuses, hearing, and current condition before she and Dr. Howells worked to narrow down her necessary treatment options. Ultimately, the balloon sinus dilation procedure was the last effort to truly provide some relief and restore Paula’s quality of life.

“He was very patient in explaining the procedure to me before and during the procedure, and answered any of my questions along the way. The procedure itself was completely painless, and we actually talked during the procedure!” Paula laughed.

After the procedure, Paula was given at-home instruction to manage any symptoms she may have. “I asked Dr. Howells if I could still do yoga as I usually do every day, and he recommended to not push any physical activity,” explained Paula. “However, I woke up the next morning feeling fantastic and I was even able to do some stretches, not missing a day of yoga. If I would’ve known how great and easy this procedure was, and how much relief it would provide, I would’ve been at ENT Associates of Central PA a lot sooner!”

Not only does the balloon sinus dilation procedure happening in-office make it more convenient for patients in need, it allows the procedure to be a more viable option for patients who have other medical conditions or age-related restrictions in regards to typical procedures or operations done in the operating room at the hospital.

“By being able to do this procedure under local anesthesia, it gives patients an option who, for age reasons or other medical conditions, cannot be put under general anesthesia,” Dr. Howells explained. “This really has lowered our threshold to offer something procedural to patients who are in this middle ground who do not want a full-blown operation under general anesthesia.”

Typically, patients who suffer from at least four or more recurrent sinus infections a year are considered for the balloon sinus dilation procedure. “This procedure truly eliminates weeks of suffering and never ending rounds of antibiotics for patients who suffer from sinus infections,” Dr. Howells said.

“If you’re having sinus issues, call ENT Associates of Central PA. They will take care of you and you will receive phenomenal care!” exuded Paula.

For more information about balloon sinus dilation, or on ENT Associates of Central PA’s areas of expertise, visit or call (814) 944-5357.

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