Headache-busting balloon injected via NOSTRIL to help 9million sinus infection sufferers


Among seven new pioneering NHS treatments are an injection of an enlarged prostate with jets of steam to shrink it, a portable chest drainage device for heart and lung problems and an automated blood cell replacement system

The injector gun for the pioneering nasal balloon
The injector gun for the pioneering nasal balloon

A headache-busting balloon is one of seven new pioneering treatments being expanded across the NHS in England.

The tiny balloon is injected via the nostril then inflated to clear blockages and could help some of the nine million Brits who suffer with chronic sinus infection.

The scalpel-free treatment is as effective as standard surgery but can be carried out during a short day trip to hospital.

The alternative has been cutting away inflamed tissue and opening the nasal cavity using drills with recovery taking 7-10 days.

It is one of seven pioneering treatments currently available at some hospitals but being rapidly expanded to be offered nationwide.

Another is an injection of an enlarged prostate – which causes a need to frequently urinate – with jets of steam to shrink it.

The five-minute procedure cuts the need for surgery and comes with minimal side effects.

Will any of these pioneering treatments help you? Let us know in the comment section

Headaches can be a nightmare (stock image)


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NHS England boss Amanda Pritchard announced the treatments will be available at all trusts from April 1 as part of the ‘MedTech’ plan to accelerate adoption of innovative technologies.

They also include a portable chest drainage device for patients with heart and lung problems and an automated blood cell replacement system to help sickle cell disease patients live normal lives.

Announcing the innovations at an NHS board meeting, Ms Pritchard said: “While many of these gadgets may be small, they will make a huge difference to the lives of tens of thousands of patients every year as well as freeing up time for NHS staff.

“These cutting-edge devices show how the NHS is embracing the latest life changing technology and rolling it out at speed for patients across the country.

“NHS staff are working hard to address Covid backlogs, and technology can really help us make inroads on the road to recovery.”

The MedTech’ plan identifies treatments found to be more efficient and in many cases less invasive.

NHS England estimates that seven new MedTech technologies will save it up to £58 million every year compared to traditional procedures.

Sinuses can become temporarily inflamed and painful, typically due to colds or flu, allergies or pollution.

Cases that continue for more than three months are termed chronic and it is not known why around 110,000 patients fail to recover.

Symptoms range from headaches and nasal congestion to a loss of the sense of smell.

Until recently the only option was functional endoscopic sinus surgery.

Carried out under general anesthesia, this involves cutting away inflamed tissue and opening the nasal cavity using drills.

Recovery takes seven to ten days and it is unsuccessful in about one in ten patients. Many sufferers refuse surgery and choose to live with the symptoms.

Four of the pioneering treatments being rolled out target the prostate and could offer hope to millions of middle-aged men who suffer with an enlarged gland.

Rezum is the treatment which avoids the need for more complicated surgery by using bursts of steam to shrink an enlarged prostate.

John Ford, 69, found his prostate problems meant he lost control of his bladder.

It made him scared to go very far from home until he was offered Rezum steam treatment at Cambridge University Hospital.

John explained: “I was becoming anti-social. We turned down lots of invitations to go to things and in the end I opted for this procedure.

“It was minimally invasive with no side effects and extraordinarily quick.

“My quality of life was pretty poor but now it’s changed tremendously.”

PLASMA is a new way of treating enlarged prostate with an electrical current passed through a surgical tool to cut out tissue. This seals the wound at the same time, reducing bleeding and the risk of side effects.

Urolift relieves the symptoms of an enlarged prostate by using small, permanent implants to stop the gland blocking the flow of urine.

Another called GreenLight tackles the problem of an enlarged prostate with a laser and can be carried out during a day trip to hospital.

Matt Whitty, lead for accelerated access at NHS England, said: “These seven medical technologies and the four already supported by the policy are improving and saving lives.

“Through research and innovation, we can improve patient outcomes and by supporting patients and providers to have equal access to transformative innovations and technologies and by removing barriers to adoption we will reduce health inequalities and improve equity of access for all, and in particular those patients in disproportionately affected groups.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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