So there are a lot of things that we are able to do in the office, that five or ten years ago we just weren’t doing and were requiring patients to go under general anesthesia in the operating room.
I’ve been in practice over 12 years now, and turbinate reduction has been done in-office since I’ve been in practice. Turbinate education is a procedure that we do to help patients breathe through their nose and basically makes the turbinates, which are the organs of our nose that humidify the air. It makes them a little smaller — the same thing you do when you take a decongestant, an Afrin or 4 Way spray, or Neo-Synephrine. Those drugs are basically making the turbinate temporarily smaller by chemically shrinking it.
So the procedure of turbinate reduction that we do in the office is doing the same thing but doing it mechanically instead of chemically. That’s about a 15-minute procedure. And believe it or not, it doesn’t hurt afterward.
The patients that really like to breathe through their nose, mostly they like having their turbinates reduced when it’s appropriate.
The next thing that we’re doing in the office is a lot of sinus procedures that we weren’t doing before. Probably the newer, well-advertised, procedure is called Balloon Sinuplasty.
We use a tool, a balloon, like this. This is a device from one company, the Intellisense product, there’s another company that makes a different version of a balloon, but it is just what it sounds like. It’s a ballon that we can place across specific pathways in the sinus. And then literally, we inflate the balloon. And when we inflate it, it opens up that pathway. And then we deflate it and take the balloon out. So it’s not something that stays inside.
The nice thing about a dilation procedure, it can be done in about 30 to 45 minutes in the office. Most of my patients don’t take any sedative before. They just walk right in, like a dental procedure. You need a tooth filled, you just come in and they numb you up and then do the procedure, then you go home.
You may have a little achy-ness the first night, the next day, you’re back to your regular activities.
We’ve advanced it beyond dilation, and now we’re doing a hybrid sinus surgery. Hybrid is where we use some tools like a balloon, that are dilation type treatments, and then we combine those with more traditional sinus procedures where we actually take little partitions down in the sinus, but we do that in the office.
I’ve done over 150 hybrid sinus type procedures in my office. It’s very effective. Patients tolerate it really well. It saves a lot of costs — facility fees, anesthesia fees.
The third thing that we can do in the office is septoplasty — we can do a lot of septoplasty in the office. Septoplasty is a procedure to make the septum in your nose straighter. Not many surgeons are doing that, but I do offer septoplasty in the office. It’s the same exact procedure you would have done in the operating room; it’s just done in the office. It takes 15 or 20 minutes. We usually combine that — we’re usually doing septoplasty with turbinate reduction; or septoplasty with a sinus procedure. Sometimes we have to do a septoplasty because the patient needs a sinus procedure and because the septum is bent, it’s in the way of the sinus, we do the septum just to get access.
So turbinate reductions, sinus procedures, sinuplasty — all done in the office. Takes about 45 minutes and honestly saves a lot of money and anxiety for patients, so they don’t have to go to the operating room.
In-Office CAT Scan
West Houston ENT & Sleep Center offers in-office low dose cone beam Sinus and temporal cone CT scans. The scan takes only 45 seconds, exposes patients to 1/7 the radiation dose of a hospital or outpatient imaging center-based CT scanning device, and costs up to 80% less than hospital-based scanners. CAT scans are critical to the proper diagnosis and management of sinonasal complaints, and our office scanner allows immediate, affordable, and convenient access to this diagnostic tool.