Nasal congestion can be treated with over-the-counter medication, prescription drugs or even surgery as a last resort.
But now, a Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy means patients can be treated in the doctor's office and avoid the unpleasant side effects and recovery time of an invasive treatment.
David Gorovoy has had a tough time breathing through his nose for years. It's especially hard on this medical resident who is often on duty or on call.
"Mainly, I wasn't getting a great night sleep, and I would snore too," Gorovoy said.
He tried medication but had no relief. Until ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Gregory Levitin offered Gorovoy an in-office therapy called ClariFix.
"Basically, he said he would shrink down some of the tissues in the nasal passage and that would help open them up," Gorovoy said.
ClariFix uses cryotherapy to freeze nerves at the back of the nose that are out of balance. Once they are treated, the nerves no longer send the signal to drip or run.
The procedure takes up to 20 minutes compared to a nearly four-hour surgery.
"It takes about 15 minutes to make them numb and literally less than a minute and we've made a big difference," Levitin said. "It's only the small area here at the end that actually touches the patient in the back of the nose, and we apply that to the back of the nose where the nerve exits out."
Patients start feeling the results within a few days of treatment.
"Within 30 days, we're seeing a reduction of 50% or more in nearly every patient with less congestion, less runny nose, breathing better and sleeping better," Levitin said.
"Makes a huge difference, being able to do your job more accurately. That's priceless," Gorovoy said.
And the best part is it is a one-and-done procedure.
"It's been a real game changer for a lot of patients," Levitin said.
Levitin says the treatment is meant for those who have sinus problems year-round.
Side effects include a cold feeling to the head often described as brain freeze during the treatment, a headache 20 minutes after the procedure and a little extra congestion for the first week after.
TOPIC: CLARIFIX FIXES CHRONIC NASAL CONGESTION
REPORT: MB #4628
BACKGROUND: Congestion is the word used to describe stuffiness in the nose and breathing passageways. Along with congestion comes a runny nose; it is usually caused by increased blood volume to the vessels that line the passages inside the nose. Sinus congestion can also contribute to patients having trouble breathing. Patients will also have excess mucus due to both types of congestion. (Source: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-congestion-1191889)
CAUSES: Nasal congestion and sinus congestion can both be very uncomfortable and annoying for patients. Nasal congestion is caused by viruses and allergies to things such as grass, pet dander, foods or other substances. Sinus congestion also known as sinusitis causes fullness in the face around the eyes, cheeks and forehead. This pressure can lead to severe headaches. Sinus congestion is commonly associated with a cold virus or bacterial infection. Nasal congestion is often treated with decongestants whereas sinus congestion usually resolves itself on its own, rarely are antibiotics needed. Gregory Levitin, MD, Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgery, Director, Vascular Birthmarks and Malformations at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai said, "A typical sinus surgery ranges from two to three hours on average. ClariFix is treating just one part of the nose that makes a big difference in symptoms such as drip, sneezing and congestion. All in the office setting, less than 20 minutes, and it avoids the need for general anesthesia." (Source: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-congestion-1191889 & Gregory Levitin, MD)
NEW STUDY: Dr. Levitin explains a newer procedure called ClariFix to help patients with congestion, trouble breathing, and a runny nose: "It takes an old technology - cryotherapy - but applies it in a nonsurgical way. So instead of having to cut tissue, we're actually just applying a topical freezing to a nerve in the back of the nose," said Levitin, "It reduces the activity by 50 percent or more but still gives enough signal to prevent dryness." He explains that this procedure could change the quality of life for some, "I would want people to know that this is safe and effective. It's been proven for several years in treatment now. And I think for the right patient this can make a big difference in their quality of life." (Source: Gregory Levitin, MD)