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New treatment provides long-lasting chronic sinus relief

Beth Trotter, a 47 year old, who suffered from chronic sinusitis, opted for a new surgical technique to help her breathe through her nose better.

Within days of the surgery, Trotter was back to her everyday routine thanks to a new endoscopic balloon device called the Relieva Stratus™ Microflow Spacer. The device is the first endoscopic sinus surgery instrument to release medication directly into the sinuses over a two to three week period.

Christie Clinic and Provena Covenant Medical Center’s Sinus Center of Excellence now offer this new treatment for patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis, which is an inflammation of the sinus lining caused by bacterial, viral, and/or microbial infections. The treatment is also for patients with structural issues like sinus opening blockages. If the sinus opening is closed, normal mucus drainage may not occur and could lead to infection and inflammation of the sinuses.

"Before having this non-invasive, outpatient surgery with this new technique, I had chronic sinusitis, sinus headaches, pressure in my face, and I was stuffy," said Trotter. "Immediately after the procedure, I had no bruising at all. About three weeks afterwards, my previous symptoms were gone completely. I’m no longer stuffy, and my face isn’t puffy like it was. No more sinus pressure in my face and I can breathe easier."

The outpatient procedure using this minimally invasive technique first involves a flexible, thin balloon catheter designed to enlarge sinus openings. Then the doctor places the drug-eluding device in one or both nostrils, which inflates inside the sinus. Medication slowly releases from the balloon’s micro-pores, bathing the sinus lining, decreasing inflammation, and opening nasal passages to drain excess fluid. Patients do not feel the device in the sinus, which is removed 14 to 21 days after surgery.

"When that spacer is removed in my office, the patient is almost healed and the inflammation is gone," said Henry Lipps, MD, of Christie Clinic’s Department of Allergy/ENT. Dr. Lipps is quite impressed with the results he’s seen from this surgery. "Well, generally, there are two main treatment options for sinusitis: medical therapy, such as antibiotics, topical nasal steroids, antihistamines, decongestants. And then sinus surgery, which historically has been surgery where they remove tissue in the sinuses to help alleviate the blockage," said Dr. Lipps, one of the first otolaryngologists—ear, nose, and throat specialists—in east central Illinois to perform the surgery.

Dr. Lipps said medical therapy can alleviate most symptoms while conventional sinus surgery often requires removal of bone and tissue from within the sinuses. Recovery after conventional surgery takes several weeks and, in some cases, additional surgery may be required.

With the new device, there is no need for the removal of tissue or bone. That means minimal discomfort, almost no bleeding, and shortened recovery time. Most patients are able to return to normal activities within two to seven days.

Apart from Dr. Lipps, Dr. Kirby Scott – Christie Clinic’s newest ENT surgeon will also be performing this revolutionary surgery at Christie and Provena Covenant’s Sinus Center of Excellence.

For an appointment at the Sinus Center with either Dr. Henry Lipps or Dr. Kirby Scott, please call 217.36NOSES. For more information, please visit

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