2018 Brings New Treatments for Sinusitis and Nasal Congestion

By Mike Armstrong, MD | February 1st, 2018

If you are one of 30 million Americans suffering with sinusitis, hope has arrived in the form of several new, less-invasive treatment options for nasal and sinus disorders. Many of these treatments may reduce or eliminate the need for sinus surgery.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an infection or inflammation of the air-containing spaces around the nose and eyes. Typical symptoms include nasal congestion, post-nasal drainage and facial pain or pressure. Less specific symptoms may include fevers, throat clearing, nasal crusting or loss of taste and smell.

Why Boomers?

Sinus and nasal congestion is especially common in Boomer noses. Over time, the cartilage and ligaments in the nose weaken, which can lead to mechanical obstruction. Lifelong exposure to allergens, mold, viruses, cigarette smoke and environmental pollution decreases the effectiveness of the normal mucous glands and ciliary cleaning mechanisms in the nose. Aging of the mucous membranes can aggravate postnasal drip, stuffiness and risk of infection.

What’s New?

Balloon sinus dilation is an alternative to surgery for patients with recurrent or persistent sinus symptoms due to mechanical obstruction. It is like an angioplasty for the sinuses but can be performed in the office under local anesthesia. Most patients compare the experience to a dental procedure and return to normal activity the following day. While balloon dilation has been performed for more than 10 years, it is only in recent months that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has finally acknowledged that this procedure is safe and effective. For more information, click here.

Latera is a non-surgical alternative to nasal reconstructive surgery for patients with aging or weakened nasal sidewalls. Typical patients complain that their nose collapses when they breathe, unless they pull outward on their cheek or wear a Breathe Rite nasal strip. The implant is inserted under local anesthesia with a needle and provides immediate increased support to the nasal sidewall. For more information, click here.

Propel Sinuva is an alternative to revision sinus surgery in patients with recurring nasal polyps. Sinuva is a biodegradable stent that contains a 3-month supply of mometasone, the active ingredient in the prescription nose spray Nasonex. Placed in the office under topical anesthesia, Sinuva shrinks nasal polyps and decreases the need for prednisone. For more information, click here.

What’s the Future?

Current research is focused on the molecular causes of nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis. Monoclonal antibodies are targeted therapies that attach directly to specific molecular targets within certain tissues. These strategies are now used for asthma, cancer, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and a wide variety of less common diseases. Research is underway using monoclonal antibodies for nasal polyps.

Mike Armstrong MD

About the Author

Michael Armstrong, MD introduced the concept of office-based sinus surgery in 1998, and contributed to the design, research and development of balloon sinus technologies. Dr. Armstrong founded Richmond ENT in 2001 and specializes in sinus, allergy and facial plastic disorders. Richmond ENT provides comprehensive care of the ears, nose and throat to adults and children of all ages.


8700 Stony Point Parkway, Suite 110

Richmond, VA 23235