First sinus surgery using a balloon performed in PMB

2011-02-23 00:00

THE first balloon sinuplasty surgery in Pietermaritzburg was performed at Midlands Medical Centre in Masukwana (East) Street on Monday afternoon.

This was the ninth procedure to be performed in the country.

Ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr Muhammad Essa said this was a milestone for the province, adding he hopes the health department will adopt the procedure at its hospitals.

Sinuplasty is a technique in sinus surgery where cutting and drilling instruments such as drills and forceps are not used.

Instead, surgeons use a balloon to unblock and reshape the narrow or blocked sinus cavity.

The technique was invented by U.S. medical technology company Perryhill International (PHI).

A guide wire and a small balloon attached to a catheter are inserted into the nose, with the wire passing through the blocked sinus cavity.

X-ray imaging is used to follow the course of the catheter to ensure it is in the proper sinus, and the balloon is inflated.

A vortex with water is then inserted to flush out any mucus or pus in the sinus cavity.

“There is no tissue or bone cutting in this procedure. We use material which does not lead to any possible brain or eye damage, as compared to using the cutting and drilling tools,” said Essa.

“Yes, those are good in good hands, but there are always chances of complications. This new method is the answer to saving time, causing less trauma and pain to the patients.

“The procedure takes about 30 minutes, although I took more on this patient as she was my first,” said Essa.

He said recovery is faster than conventional sinus surgery, and there is no bleeding and less pain.

Once he has mastered this new technique, Essa said, he would be able operate on patients without anaesthetic.

PHI has provided Dr Essa with 10 units of the product, which he said he will use at Grey’s Hospital while the provincial government decides whether to buy into it or not.

Yesterday’s patient was Yogambal Govender. Her husband Roy said she would need time to assess the effectiveness of the technique.

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