Experts for all things nasal
Date: January 3, 2012
Most people take breathing easily and freely through their noses for granted. But for patients with nasal issues, breathing can become the central focus of their lives.
The causes, says facial plastic surgeon Patrick Byrne, have typically been put into two categories: inflammatory and mechanical. Examples of problems related to inflammation include allergies, chronic sinus infections, and noses sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. Mechanical problems include deviated septums, congenital anatomical abnormalities and cartilage changes with age.
However, these groups aren’t as distinct as once believed. “What we find is that these two categories overlap in a lot of patients,” Byrne says. “The kicker is that there’s also a huge percentage of patients who are concerned with the way their noses look. If they’re not done carefully, many of the procedures performed to help patients breathe can make the nose look worse.”
Consequently, many patients who don’t know the reasons for their nasal problems end up seeing a series of doctors separately, says Byrne’s colleague, rhinologist and sinus surgeon Douglas Reh. To improve their breathing, they might visit with an expert in inflammatory conditions, such as himself, a different expert in mechanical issues, such as Reh and Byrne, and a third doctor with Byrne’s expertise in improving the nose’s appearance.
To improve and coordinate patients’ experiences, Byrne and Reh, along with their colleagues Lisa Ishii and Kofi Boahene, both facial plastic surgeons, and Sandra Lin, an expert in inflammatory issues, are launching the Johns Hopkins Nasal Center.
Patients who call a central number to schedule an appointment will be asked a series of questions to track down the source of their nasal problem, Reh says. Those whose complaints neatly fall into a single category will see an expert in that condition, but those whose symptoms fall into multiple categories will be able to see all specialists in the same day. These experts will work together to develop a comprehensive solution to resolve all of a patient’s nasal issues.
“Our goal is be a one-stop shop,” Reh says, “for all the problems that affect the nose.”
To refer a patient or learn more,