According to the CDC 20 percent of people who have sinus infections have chronic sinusitis and a number of them suffer long term debilitating symptoms.
'It is a headache in upper region," Leanne Ricchiuti said.
Since Leanne has suffered chronic symptoms from sinusitis she was five years old.
"It got so bad that I lost my hearing in the my ears," she said.
Leanne's continued to suffer for years. Doctors thought symptoms stemmed from allergies, but it wasn’t. Dr. Nora Perkin discovered she had very tiny sinus passages trapping fluid causing the pain, she needed her sinus widened, which can be done with a procedure called a balloon sinus dilation.
"We use this balloon device to enter the sinuses," Dr. Perkin said. "The balloon is advanced and inflated it actually fractures little bits of bones in the sinus drainage passageway so they can heal and that widened position."
Out of options, she decided to get the procedure.
"With Leanne we will be dilating the frontal sinuses in her forehead and the maxillary sinuses in her cheeks," Dr. Perkin said.
Prior to the procedure her nasal passages are numbed up. There are no incisions. The balloon is fed through her nose. The lighted scope is placed way up into her forehead.
"You can see where the light come through in the left frontal sinus and movement that is called lateral excursion which let's us know we are inside the sinuses," Dr. Perkin said.
It about an hour, pain during the procedure?
"It was two seconds of pinching and then you heard a crackle, which was the cartilage breaking and after that it was fine," Leanne said.
Patients can feel relief immediately.
"While I was still sitting in the chair I could breathe better," Leanne said. "It was unbelievable."
It's been two weeks since her procedure.
"I am not getting headaches, I am not getting sinus pressure," Leanne said. "The full on pain in my left side is gone."
The procedure was a success, nearly 80 percent of patients get immediate relief one in five patients do not get relief and may go on to more invasive sinus surgery.