Entellus Medical, a Maple Grove company, created a procedure that would give chronic sinusitis patients an option that falls between medication and surgery. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis (a sinus infection that lasts for 12 or more weeks) and recurrent sinusitis (a sinus infection that recurs four times within a 12-month period) include headaches, facial pain and congestion, and nasal discharge. Antibiotics and steroids can control these symptoms for most people, but for some they don’t work.
For those cases, a doctor may recommend functional endoscopic sinus surgery in which bone and tissue are removed to help the sinuses drain properly.
Entellus’s FinESS Sinus Treatment is an alternative to surgery. It reopens blocked sinuses by expanding a small balloon inside the nasal passage, which reshapes the soft tissue. “What it does is move that boney structure and [soft tissue] outward and it creates a larger pathway,” says Tom Resseman, CEO of Entellus. “It’s a very small increase in size. But it turns out to be a very clinically significant improvement in the clearance that allows the mucus to move more freely.”
The procedure can be done under local anesthetic. A device is inserted through the upper lip. FinESS doesn’t remove bone or tissue, there is little bleeding, and recovery times are shorter than with traditional sinus surgery.
Resseman says that the procedure is good for patients, physicians, and insurance companies because it offers another, less expensive option before sinus surgery is attempted. Entellus plans to expand internationally by the end of 2009.