Meet Ashley Mulcahy
As a college student, every change of season meant another sinus infection for Ashley Mulcahy - each one longer lasting and more difficult to treat than the one before. "I'd have round after round of antibiotics, including some of the most powerful on the market today to no affect," Mulcahy said, adding that "it was very difficult going to law school and studying for the Kansas bar when I felt sick all the time."
The young attorney has gone to work and law school with sinus infection related symptoms and pain so severe at times that she could not participate in daily activities such as applying make-up, household chores, taking the stairs or consuming regular foods due to severe headaches, nausea, fatigue, and teeth and gum pain.
In January 2011, Mulcahy had a relatively new same-day procedure called Balloon SinuplastyTM at Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa. The ENT placed a small, flexible, sinus balloon catheter in Mulcahy's nose to reach her sinuses - much like cardiologists use a balloon catheter to open blocked arteries. He then gradually inflated the catheter to gently restructure the blocked nasal passage to restore sinus drainage and function. Other benefits of the minimally invasive procedure over traditional sinus surgery include less pain, minimal bleeding and a typical return to normal activities in 24 hours.
In fact, it's estimated that chronic sinusitis, which affects more than 37 million people nationwide, accounts each year for 22 million physician offi ce visits, more than $8 billion in direct healthcare expenditures and more than 73 million restricted activity days. But many patients try to tough it out rather than endure the swelling, bruising and painful packing of the nose and two-week recovery time associated with the more invasive surgical alternative. Dr. Philip Harris, an ENT with Via Christi Clinic, performs Balloon Sinuplasty.