Thirty-one million Americans suffer from sinusitis, or the inflammation of tissues lining the sinuses, causing congestion, headaches and fatigue. When drug treatment isn’t enough, as many as 525,000 of these patients undergo surgery, where doctors cut away inflamed nasal structure.
In 2009, Plymouth-based Entellus Medical developed an alternative to this invasive surgery. The company focuses on developing multiple devices to aid correction, both surgical and non-surgical, of sinusitis. For example, Entellus designed the XprEss multi-sinus balloon, a small balloon used in a new sinusitis-treating operation that can be performed in the doctor’s office, as opposed to a surgery center or hospital. “The patient is given local anesthetics,” Entellus president Brian Farley says, “then the balloon is inserted into the nasal cavity and inflated for 5 seconds, reshaping the sinus structure to open drainage pathways.” The device has been available since 2011.
Studies show that the balloon sinus dilation method is just as effective as surgery at treating sinusitis, and patients recover faster. “It’s faster, cheaper and less invasive; a win-win for everyone,” Farley says. Most insurance companies cover the balloon sinus dilation, and tens of thousands of patients choose it every year.