Around 31 million people or close to ten percent of the population suffers from chronic sinus symptoms and upwards to 50 million suffer from seasonal allergies such as hay fever. In fact, so extensive is the problem that medical researchers estimate Americans spend around 4.5 billion dollars on over-the-counter or prescription drugs, and doctor visits to combat the symptoms of allergies.

Allergen specialists have identified up to 100 substances that cause nasal allergies and can skin test up to 40 at a time in a single test. And while there are exceptions, fully 65 percent of people observed to have significant levels of sensitivity to pet dander, mold or pollens, having inherited the trait from their parents. So while there are steps you can perform to minimize systems, if you suffer from nasal allergies, it's not really your fault.

Symptoms of a nasal allergy

The most common symptoms include:

  • Nasal Congestion

  • A runny nose

  • Constant sneezing

  • Draining from your nose and into your throat

  • Watery eyes

  • Itchiness in your nose, eyes, and throat

  • Blockage in your ears

  • An inflamed throat

  • Coughing and sinus pain.

Short term solutions

Often, either a prescription or over-the-counter medicine will relieve some of these symptoms, but when they come back, again and again, most patients elect to see an allergist.

And while the allergist can identify all or most of the environmental substances that seem to be causing your constant sinus problems, their solution, either under the skin injections or allergy drops which are taken under the tongue are a very long term procedure.

It takes a minimum of around three months to notice any noticeable improvement with either method and the vast majority must undergo their allergy shots or drops for at least a year or more. And in point of fact, the recommendation among reputable allergists is a steady dose of injections or drops for three to five years! And less than 50 percent of patients, even those with severe nasal problems, have the patience, nor are willing to undergo the cost to continue the procedure for the full prescribed time.

A second look at allergies

Just as a physician wouldn't treat an anorexic merely by ordering she eat more food, a number of Ear, Nose, and Throat specialists have a different view of the underlying cause of allergies. These doctors are interested in treating the real and significant cause of allergic reactions rather than point to the environmental symptoms.

While recognizing that there are indeed countless molds, pollens, food substances and pet dander which tends to send the body into overdrive trying to counteract these potential allergens, at least when it comes to persistent nasal problems, the problem lies mostly with blocked or less than ideal airway passages. The human body should naturally drain away the effect of these environmental allergens if the nasal passages are significantly wide enough to do so. These doctors prescribe widening the nasal airways rather than drops or injections as the most effective way to relieve a patient of consistent nasal problems.

Balloon Sinuplasty

The answer to limited sinus airways is balloon sinuplasty, a medical procedure similar to angioplasty in the heart, where a medical balloon is used to enlarge the arteries. Only in sinuplasty, it is the nasal passages that are widened to provide the way for the body to naturally handle allergens.

Balloon Sinuplasty is not new. It's been effectively performed on over a half a million people worldwide since 2005. But unless your physician visit was to either a plastic surgeon with special knowledge of the nasal passages or an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor chances are you would be still in the dark. Neither your general physician nor your allergist is trained to perform this procedure.

How does sinuplasty work?

During what in most cases turns out to be a 70-minute operation, you will be carefully anesthetized before the doctor proceeds. Then the doctor will carefully insert the medical balloons in your nasal passages.

Most people undergoing the procedure report no more discomfort than a slight burning sensation and though you won't be able to drive yourself home, overall discomfort is totally manageable. The procedure is so uneventful that both children and elderly adults often have balloon sinuplasty.

What about recovery time

Patients having balloon sinuplasty generally return to work within two days of the operation. There are post-operation side effects. Some people report unusual popping sounds in their ears as the balloon opens the nasal passages. And many people have a runny, bloody discharge during the first day of recovery. But the overwhelming amount of patients are thrilled with the results, and even close to a year after surgery 95 percent noticed a significant improvement to their nasal symptoms.

I'm tired of drops and injections, where do I have the procedure done?

A competent Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, or a plastic surgeon with experience in nasal problems is where you want to go, and as always, concerning surgery, the more experienced the doctor the better.

Doctor Daniel G. Becker

In the New Jersey and Philadelphia area, Doctor Daniel G. Becker, a board-certified Ear Nose and Throat specialist and a professor at the University of Pensylvania, operates several state-of-the-art clinics specializing in practices such as balloon sinuplasty.

Doctor Becker's steady hand ensures you will get the finest of care starting with your initial consultation and continuing post operation.

To examine the amount of care Dr. Becker and his colleagues will give you, look no further than his website. Pay Dr. Becker a visit if you’re in need of an allergist in Princeton, NJ.


Published by Matthew Piggot