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STUFFED UP: Treatment Gives Sinus Relief

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As allergy season gets into full swing, many of us will be sniffling and sneezing. But for others, nasal congestion isn't seasonal, it's a year-round problem.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says 31-million Americans suffer from sinus troubles. The group calls it a major health problem that costs people a billion dollars in over the counter medications. But, technology is making it easier for people to find relief.

Scott Howe has suffered from headaches caused by sinus pressure for years. He says, "It's interesting how you just learn to cope with it. And, there are often times I have to ask myself, do I have a headache or sinus pressure?"

Howe says he hopes a quick trip to the Iowa ENT Center will help.. Dr. Tim Simplot says, "The procedure is called a Turbinoplasty. It's done with a technology called Celon."

Dr. Simplot says turbinoplasty is nothing new. The procedure shrinks the turbinates in the nose to ease congestion. But, technology has improved to make it less painful for patients. He started using a technique called the Celon treatment last fall. He says, "It's a newer technique. It's a form of heat energy that is able to be delivered into the turbinates, reduces the volume of the turbinates."

Dr. Simplot says the minimally invasive procedure is done in the office. He says, "If someone can sit still at the dentist office and have minor work done, they can easily sit still for this."

The actual treatment only takes about 5 minutes. Howe was in the office for about 30 minutes and then was headed to work. Dr. Simplot says, "There's really no downtime whatsoever because of it."

Dr. Simplot says the treatment can help patients with chronic sinus problems, allergies and sleep disorders. He says, "Basically if you have a stuffy nose, you're most likely a good candidate for this."

It can take six weeks to feel the full effect, but Howe says he noticed an improvement right away. He says, "Very easy, and I can already tell a big difference in the airflow."

Dr. Simplot says the procedure is covered by insurance.

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