Ballwin resident Alan Robbins had been struggling with allergies and sinus trouble for years when he visited SLUCare otolaryngologist Dr. Jastin Antisdel in search of relief. “I had ongoing issues with sinusitis and polyps on my sinus membranes,” Robbins says. “Symptoms would come and go, but when they flared up, I had to deal with a lot of congestion and discomfort. My right nasal passage seemed to be affected the most.”
Robbins had undergone surgery to remove polyps before, but Antisdel found they had returned and recommended another operation. He performed an outpatient procedure at SLUCare Otolaryngology West County in Creve Coeur and also corrected the patient’s deviated septum, a condition that can cause breathing problems because the wall between the nasal passages is misaligned.
The end result was improved comfort and clearer breathing, according to Robbins. “Before, I basically had no path for air through my right nostril, and the recurring bouts of sinusitis were difficult,” he notes. “I didn’t realize how much I was compensating for my sinus problems in my daily life. I had to sleep on one side every night and keep a box of tissues with me at all times. But now, I feel great.”
Robbins says the process was made even easier by the compassion and care he received from SLUCare staff. “Dr. Antisdel speaks in plain, straightforward language so you know what to expect,” he says. “He is never condescending, never talks over you and always explains things thoroughly. I like to know what is happening with my health, and he understands that. He even showed me images from the procedure so I could see for myself how the problems had been corrected. The whole SLUCare team provided me with a very high level of care and follow-up.”
Antisdel says sinus problems like those Robbins experienced are frustrating, but the SLUCare team has the knowledge and expertise to help patients find relief and enjoy a better quality of life. He and his colleagues, Drs. Joseph Brunworth, John Eisenbeis, Thomas Sanford and Joshua Hentzelman, are committed to designing personalized care plans that focus on each patient’s unique needs. “No treatment approach should ever be ‘one size fits all,’” Antisdel says. “We understand that each person is an individual and needs a tailored plan.”
SLUCare physicians can help patients with all kinds of sinus and airway problems, including allergies, sinusitis, nasal blockage, recurrent infections and more. “Allergies tend to be much worse in spring and fall, but people have more problems with sinusitis in winter,” Antisdel says. “Patients with underlying issues often get winter upper respiratory infections, which is why we often talk about sinus care at this time of year.” He says that during the pandemic, some people with sinus and allergy issues have had less trouble because they are exposed to fewer allergens like dust working remotely, but others develop worse problems because they are around their pets all day.
Antisdel says SLUCare doctors enjoy collaborating with patients to figure out a plan that meets their health goals, whether they need immunotherapy, balloon sinuplasty, drug therapy, surgery or other treatments. The emphasis is always on modern technology, patient comfort, less-invasive techniques and shorter healing times.
He adds that it’s important to draw the proper distinction between sinusitis and a sinus infection. The former involves inflammation of the sinus membranes that can go on for weeks or months and is not contagious, and the latter is a temporary infection, he says. It’s also possible to get a sinus infection on top of sinusitis. Normal sinuses are open and filled with air, but sinusitis causes inflammation and fluid buildup in the passages, leading to congestion, pain, pressure, nasal discharge and even fatigue.
Antisdel advises paying attention to the duration and severity of symptoms to decide when you should seek medical care. “If you have problems like chronic loss of smell, ongoing nasal obstruction or discharge, consult a provider,” he advises. “If you have symptoms of a cold, give your body about a week to clear it. If the symptoms hang on longer than that, seek treatment.”
It’s also important for patients to remember that they shouldn’t postpone care because of coronavirus fears. SLUCare facilities practice in-depth sanitary and distancing measures so people can feel confident about visiting. The physician group has created a video, “Your Safety Is Our Priority,” to answer patients’ questions about COVID-19 protocols. It outlines virtual care options and precautions taken during visits to SLUCare facilities. The video is available at slucare.edu/covid-19.
Robbins says he is extremely glad he chose the SLUCare team to solve his sinus problems. “My entire experience has been very positive, and the results of my surgery are so good that I wish I had done it a couple of years earlier,” he says. “I’m glad medical science has progressed to the point where it’s easy and pleasant to have your health problems addressed and get the relief you need.”
SLUCare Physician Group is committed to helping patients improve their quality of life through personalized care and treatment for sinus and airway issues. For more information, call 314.977.6362 or search for ‘sinusitis’ at slucare.edu.
Cover designs by Julie Streiler
Cover photos courtesy of SLUCare Physician Group
Pictured at top: Dr. John Eisenbeis consults with a patient.