Laser Allergy Surgery

Allergies affect more than 50 million Americans each year. In 38 million people, congestion and post nasal drip lead to more serious problems like chronic sinus infections. Now more and more doctors are turning up the heat.

"I was severely congested. Had a lot of pressure, in my head, nose runny, eyes -- runny and itchy." Kathy McFarlane's problem was swollen tissues inside her nose made it hard to breathe.

Linda Potter knows that feeling too. She says, "All of it drains downs into my chest, instead of being able to blow my nose." Potter hopes that will change.

Laser Allergy SurgeryOtolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeon Rajiv Pandit, M.D., uses a powerful laser to shrink nasal tissues called turbinates. Demonstrating during a procedure, he says "This is the tip that is going to be placed in the nose. The idea is to vaporize some of this tissue as well as to cause a heat injury that, over several weeks, will reduce the size of the turbinate through the body's natural healing process."

The procedure -- called laser sub-mucosal resection -- takes about 15 minutes, and results come quickly.  They can usually go home about an hour after the surgery.  And while most see improvements soon after the procedure, it may take six to eight weeks to see the full benefits.

Dr. Pandit says, "People generally feel more alert -- both at home and on the job. People usually sleep better, so they're more refreshed."  He says that's the case in about 70 percent of his patients.

Laser Allergy SurgeryMcFarlane had the surgery and finally has relief. She says, "I have not had a single sinus infection since I had the laser turbinate surgery, so it's been a godsend and an answer to many prayers.

Immediate side effects of sub-mucosal resection can include nose bleeds and congestion. People who have allergy symptoms mainly related to nasal congestion, and those who are not helped by prescription drugs, may be good candidates for this procedure.