ROANOKE, Va. – Sinus infections can be painful, with pressure in your head and a runny nose. Millions are diagnosed every year.
There's a surgery that's growing more popular in the Roanoke Valley providing relief for a sinus infection.
Wendy Wood struggled with sinus issues for years.
"I couldn't taste anything, I couldn't breathe, it was really hard to exercise," said Wood.
But after a simple procedure, she ran her first 5K with her son.
"A lot of people suffer with sinus disease. They go and have antibiotics five, six, seven times a year. They don't know there's an alternative," said Dr. Paul Lenkowski, an ENT and sinus surgeon.
Lenkowski does the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure in his Roanoke office. Your face is numb as he goes inside your nose with a small camera, putting a tiny balloon inside the sinus opening and breaking the bone to make the opening bigger.
Patients told us they don't feel anything except a little pressure.
In the surgery 10 News cameras watched, the openings started at 1 to 2 millimeters and opened to 6 millimeters.
"It allows people to have less pressure in their head, fewer sinus infections and if they do have a cold and get a viral sinus infection it tends to go away much faster and they have fewer symptoms," said Lenkowski.
It's an alternative to traditional sinus surgery, where you have to be put to sleep. Lenkowski says the results are the same but you spend less money and heal faster.
"Because we're not cutting tissue there's less recovery. In the past we'd have to go in afterwards and break up scar tissue or remove packing," said Lenkowski.
For Wood, who had the surgery two months ago, it's been life-changing.
"I've been able to get out and enjoy the outdoors, do walking and running, jogging, do more things than I could before. I think I speak better as far as not sneezing and being snotty," said Wood.
Lenkowski says he still does sinus surgery in the OR when it's needed but after studying other techniques across the country and bringing them to Roanoke, he can do most procedures in the office instead of the OR, saving you a lot of money.
For more on the procedure, visit https://www.rovaent.com/sinus-surgeries/