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CHI Health ENT Nebraska offers sinus balloon surgery

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Sinus issues and allergies affect millions of Americans every year, with many of us turning to over-the-counter medicine to help, but for one Lincoln woman, she’s now getting the help she needs after decades of suffering.

Ever since she was a kid, Betsy Bitker dealt with extreme sinus pressure, congestion and headaches. What started off as seasonal issues became every day problems, but with help from an operation at CHI Health, relief could be on the way.

“They are literally going to give me more room to breathe, so I’m excited about that. I see nothing but good that can come from it,” said Bitker.

This anticipation, Bitker says, comes after years of traditional treatments like allergy medicine, nasal sprays and shots, none of which she said were working.

These constant problems were not only affecting things like her breathing but even her hearing.

“My kids would repeat things to me. My coworkers would have to yell at me, and I’m saying, ‘Huh? I can’t hear you,’” Bitker told 10/11.

Dr. Aaron Robinson with CHI Health St. Elizabeth is one of two ENTs offering this minimally invasive surgery in Lincoln.

The procedure takes less than an hour, and Dr. Robinson tells us it should clear everything up. “For the right patient with the right problems, it’s an awesome surgery, and it works really really well,” said Dr. Robinson.

It’s a three-part process, which shrinks Bitkers’ swollen sinuses, relieving the extra pressure.

The last and most important step is inserting a balloon to inflate and stretch the sinuses, ultimately, making it easier for her to breathe.

Bitker told 10/11, “I am just excited to get relief and for people to stop yelling because I can’t hear. I’ll get rid of the headaches and the stuffiness. I’m very excited to breathe again.”

Bitker had her surgery on Wednesday, and when we called to check in with her a day later, she told us she isn’t suffering from pain at all and is just resting, taking things easy.

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