CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The start of allergy season is sending a lot of people looking for relief in the medicine aisle.
For those whose allergies lead to chronic and acute sinusitis or sinus infections, traditional sinus surgery is often the only path to relief. But many resist, afraid to go under the knife.
"Patients were afraid to undergo the traditional sinus surgery. They used to call it the rotor-rooter of my sinuses," said Dr. Andrea Williams, of ENT & Audiology Associates of the Carolinas.
Williams' clinic is one of several in the Charlotte area offering a non-invasive sinus balloon surgery. It'd been available in operating rooms for the past decade, but only recently has it been made option in doctor's offices. Doctors insert a small balloon in the sinuses, inflate it, which fractures microscopic bones in the sinuses. It clears the sinus passages.
"You don't have any cutting. It's done under local anesthesia and not general anesthesia. Patients return to work in a day or two," said Williams.
Williams said in most cases insurance covers the cost of the procedures with a copay.
In most cases, doctors say the results should remain permanent.
"My sleep definitely improved. I'm an avid runner. I think my running's been much better," said patient Ariana Harris.
Several local clinics offer the procedure.