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Saturday, Nov 20, 2004

Sinus Surgery

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A stuffy nose, you can't smell, your head feels like it will explode from the pressure. You might have a sinus infection. It might go away on it's own, or you might need medication. Rarely, you need surgery. But because your sinuses are close to your eye, carotid arteries and brain, surgery can be risky. Now a high tech system allows doctors at Mayo Clinic to see your sinuses in greater detail. It cuts the risk of damage and improves your chances of relieving the pressure.
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Karen Friedman reaches out to a motherless fawn: to try to make it understand that she's there to help.

"I've always been like the animal whisperer my whole life."

Karen nurses sick and abandoned animals until they can fend for themselves in the wild.

"This is a white tailed bunny."

Having seen many animals suffer from bad infections, Karen figured her symptoms pointed to the same thing.

"I knew with the fever spikes that I had, and dizzy spells, I knew I had an infection."

Karen also had debilitating headaches. She went to Mayo Clinic where Dr. David Pearson found...

"There was a central compartment to her sphenoid sinus."

The sphenoid sinus is behind the nose in the center of your head. Usually it has two sections. Karen had a third. It was filled with infection and difficult to see with an endoscope. Standard surgery would be risky. To make sure he didn't damage Karen's brain, Dr. Pearson used image-guided technology.

A tracking device mapped out the dimensions of Karen's head. The map was then recreated in a 3-D image on a monitor in the O.R. The image showed Dr. Pearson exactly where his instruments were.

"It's like the difference between walking arount the woods with a map and walking around with a global positioning system."

Less risk of injury allows for a more thorough job of clearing the infection.

"This deer was separated from it's mother"

And now Karen is back to rescuing the animals she loves.

Dr. Pearson says this technology will likely be the standard of care for sinus surgery in the near future. And there's more good news coming out of this story. Before Karen's surgery she was on heavy doses of pain medication. At that time, she and her husband wanted to add a third child to their family, but doctors told her she should not get pregnant while on that medication. Now, the Friedman's have a new baby girl. For more information on sinus surgery, log onto http://www.medicaledge.org/2004october-3.html

 

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