By Michael Branch, MD
For over 20 years Dr. Michael Branch made special mission trips to the Amazon region of Peru to treat the people in need of ear, nose and throat surgery. These trips may a lasting impression on him through the privilege of helping people who had no other source of ENT help. He understands the power of surgical treatment to improve the quality of a patient’s ENT health. He takes that message into his daily practice with his patients at Florida Medical Clinic.
Many patients suffer from various types of sinus conditions. Here in Florida, the allergy season is year-round for many people. With molds, algae, dust, pollen, and other allergens and irritants steadily looming in the air, the nasal passages can become chronically infected, inflamed, and blocked.
. Physical examination using a fiber-optic endoscope and a high definition video system is the first step to viewing the nasal/sinus areas.
. Getting a CT scan of the sinuses shows details of the nasal and sinus anatomy as well as problems like polyps, congestion of the nose and sinuses, and obstructions.
. Cultures may be taken to determine if there’s a bacterial infection, in some cases.
. Allergy testing may be recommended to diagnose inhalant allergy as a co-contributor to inflammation.
. Many patients opt to take allergy medications and/or nasal sprays.
. In patients with proven allergy, immunotherapy (allergy shots) is beneficial and works by building antibodies to alleviate the cause of the allergic reactions.
. Nasal washing devices, like Neti Pots or pulsating flushing devices, can help mitigate the constant build-up of mucus. Certain medications may be added to the wash to help break up the mucus.
. Nasal Corticosteroid sprays can help reduce the inflammation as well.
When the chronic sinus disease is due to obstruction of the sinus openings or anatomical abnormalities, conservative treatments are often inadequate.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
Dr. Branch performs functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) using nasal endoscopes and instruments to surgically open sinuses, remove polyps and damaged tissue, open blockages and correct things like a deviated septum and enlarged turbinates. These procedures are usually performed in an ambulatory surgery center, under general anesthesia.
Balloon Sinus Procedure
Dr Branch also uses a recently developed procedure that opens the sinuses with a balloon. Similar to angioplasty for blocked arteries, the balloon sinuplasty technique is used to dilate the natural sinus openings. This procedure is performed in the office using a mild oral sedative, taken by the patient before the appointment, and local anesthesia in the office.
Using a state-of-the-art video endoscope and camera, the balloon is placed with a tiny catheter into the sinus opening, into the narrowed or blocked passageway. It is inflated with saline to dilate the sinus passages for approximately 10 seconds. This enlarges the natural opening of the sinus six-fold, allowing for proper drainage and ventilation.
Keeping in mind that some patients will require traditional sinus and nasal surgery, depending on the severity of their symptoms or anatomical issues, many with chronic sinusitis will significantly benefit from balloon dilation. This minimally invasive procedure has a high success rate and is accepted by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as within standard of care for many sinusitis sufferers. After the procedure, many patients no longer need decongestants or nasal sprays. This treatment is highly effective, has low complication rates and is usually long-lasting. Most patients can rest assured they will be able to live a quality-filled life with the ability to breathe naturally once again. If you’ve suffered from sinus disorders, you will understand the joy that patients experience once they can breathe normally, have significant reduction of sinus headaches and fewer sinus infections.
Michael Branch, M.D.
Board Certified Otolaryngologist – Ear, Nose, and Throat
Dr. Branch was born in Jacksonville and raised in Gainesville, Fl. His first love was music, playing drums in various rock and roll bands in Gainesville in the 1960s–1970s. He enlisted in the USAF in 1973 and served active duty as an operating room technician for four years. He was commissioned in the USN in 1984 and, after completing a residency in Otolaryngology in 1993, served three years active duty as an Otolaryngologist in the Naval Hospitals at Orlando and Pensacola. He has been in private practice since 1996. He is married with three adult children and three adult stepchildren. He has special interests in systematic and reformed theology. He enjoys playing, writing and recording music with his bandmates in Gainesville and loves fishing with his lovely wife, snorkeling and diving.
Florida Medical Clinic
Wiregrass Multi Specialty Campus
2352 Bruce B Downs Blvd., Suite 303
Wesley Chapel, FL 33544
Eiland Multi Specialty Campus
36763 Eiland Blvd., Suite 103
Zephyrhills, Florida 33542