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Central Texas Medical Center: News

Live Oak Sinus and Allergy Center offers allergy relief and new local procedure for chronic sinus sufferers

 
Michael Blair, DO, an Ear,
Nose and Throat Specialist
at Live Oak Health Partners,
helps patients of all ages
diagnose and treat allergies
and blocked sinuses.
SAN MARCOS, TX – Allergy season is upon us, and the new Live Oak Sinus & Allergy Center is providing relief to sufferers in Central Texas by providing testing, treatments and a minimally-invasive Balloon SinuplastyÔ procedure for patients with severely blocked sinuses.

“Discovering what allergens are causing problems, and to what level, provides the pathway for personalized immunotherapy,” says Dr. Michael Blair, DO, an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist who oversees the new Live Oak Sinus & Allergy Center.

After testing, allergy drops that the patient can place under the tongue at home may be prescribed. Allergy shots can also be administered on a weekly basis in the doctor’s office. For some allergy sufferers, however, sinuses can become severely blocked, calling for more drastic treatments. Chronic sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus lining lasting three months or more, and is one of the most commonly diagnosed chronic illnesses. It is caused by allergies, viral, fungal or bacterial infections as well as standard issues that cause blockages of the sinus openings.

A common procedure used to open blocked arteries in the heart is now being performed to open the blocked nasal passages of chronic sinus sufferers. The technique, called Balloon SinuplastyÔ, is performed locally by Dr. Blair, who also sees pediatric sinusitis and allergy patients. With this procedure, Live Oak Sinus & Allergy Center has the opportunity to capture and treat hundreds of local sinus sufferers with technology that is less invasive, decreases recovery time to 1-2 days and dramatically improves patients’ quality of life. Live Oak’s allergy initiatives allow patients to stay close to home for this life-changing procedure, as opposed to commuting to larger neighboring cities.

“This minimally invasive, endoscopic procedure takes about 30 minutes and involves using a small catheter and balloon to quickly open and expand blocked sinuses, then irrigate away the persistent infection,” Dr. Blair says. “Once complete, pressure subsides and the sinuses return to normal drainage. In many cases, the procedure can be done in the doctor’s office under local anesthesia. The issues such as allergies and other predisposing factors can be addressed.”

Common signs and symptoms of sinusitis include:

• Facial pain, pressure, congestion or fullness
• Difficulty breathing through the nose
• Discharge of yellow or green mucus from the nose
• Teeth pain
• Loss of the sense of smell or taste
• Headache
• Fatigue
• Sore throat
• Bad breath

Recently, Live Oak Sinus & Allergy Center became one of the handful of institutions in Texas to be recognized as having a National Minimally Invasive Sinus Program. To achieve this, the Center met the following criteria:

• Certificate of Training: All surgeons were clinically proctored on the safe and effective use of balloon technology (EVOLVE Professional Education- Training Certificate - at least 10 cases on all sinuses).
• Operating Room Efficiency: All key operating room technicians and nurses completed Acclarent’s ASSET™ training to maximize OR efficiency.
• Referring Physician Education: The ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT), physician liaison and Acclarent partner will educate (PCP) offices.
• Enhanced Patient Pathway: ENT education of PCPs includes treatment algorithm agreement to reduce redundancy in patient treatments.
• ENT Office Optimization: ENT office staff educated to include basic patient education and process to track sources of referrals. Practice branded collateral and web presence developed.
• Outcomes Data Collection: Improved patient outcomes measured and documented to further enhance facility branding efforts.
• Community Education: Develop an annual education and awareness plan to maintain gains made in the continuum of care.
• Scheduled Business Reviews: Stakeholders meet quarterly to review the process and ensure goals of program are being exceeded.

If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, you may be a candidate for a Balloon SinuplastyÔ. For more information on the procedure or allergy treatments, visit www.liveoakhealthpartners.com or call (512) 353-6400.

About CTMC
The hospital, which originated in 1923 as Hays County Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Memorial Hospital, was restructured in 1960. The present facility was opened at its current Wonder World Drive location in 1983. The CTMC staff of more than 700 employees works with more than 220 active and consulting physicians to provide quality services to patients and their families. In addition, over 200 community members and interns from area educational institutions volunteer their services to the hospital. In 2010 and again in 2011, CTMC was named The Best Hospital in Hays County. In addition, CTMC added a certified Chest Pain Center to its ER capabilities in 2011. In 2012, CTMC became the first operating room along the IH-35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio to be equipped with a da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery suite.

CTMC is a member of the Adventist Health System (AHS), a not-for-profit healthcare organization that emphasizes Christ at the center of care. Founded in 1973, AHS has quickly grown to become the largest not-for-profit Protestant healthcare provider in the nation. Today, AHS supports 43 hospitals and employs 55,000 individuals. AHS hospitals are comprised of 7,700 licensed beds, providing care for 4 million patients each year in inpatient, outpatient and emergency room visits.

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