So says Dr. Jason Mudd, an ear, nose and throat specialist who practices in the Albuquerque metro area and is making use of technology — called image-guided sinus surgery — at Lovelace Westside Hospital.
Lovelace Westside Hospital has featured the equipment for this surgery for a few months, said hospital spokeswoman Laurie Volkin.
Patients from Rio Rancho and the West Side can take advantage of Mudd’s expertise as he views a CAT scan and an endoscope simultaneously to repair infected sinuses.
“I know exactly where I am in real time in the surgery,” Mudd said. “I can use that CT scan to help guide me to prevent illness.”
In addition, the surgical technique helps reduce complications from sinus surgeries.
In most cases, sinus infections can be treated with antibiotics, Mudd said. But if they become chronic, surgery may be necessary, he said.
“For people who have really extensive disease and for people who have (sinus) polyps,” surgery may be appropriate, Mudd said.
During most sinus surgery, the problem areas give doctors ample room to maneuver. Some sinuses, however, are separated from vital organs, such as the brain, by a millimeter or less, Mudd said, leaving little to no room for error.
And in fact, some sinus infections spread to the eyes and can cause blindness, or to the brain, which may lead to meningitis.
Studies show only one to three in 1,000 sinus surgeries end in complications, Mudd said.
Still, “Most people get sinus surgery because they’re miserable,” Mudd said, not because their case could be fatal. “Imagine a cold that goes on for six months.”