YORKTOWN, New York – People with allergies or asthma may be at risk for developing nasal polyps: tiny, grape-like sacs that block nasal passages, making it tough for a person to smell or taste.
For executive chef Eric Korn, it impacted his cooking. And that was a serious business.
"I'm touching, cutting, tasting everything that goes through that kitchen."
But the job he loved was almost wrecked by chronic sinus infections.
Three years ago he woke up one day and it was gone.
"Couldn't smell anything."
Without the sense of smell, Korn also lost the ability to taste the foods he was in charge of preparing.
"Worried about my career. Short term you can figure something out. Long term, that's a disaster."
Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon Michael Bergstein diagnosed Korn with nasal polyps and removed them surgically.
Within a few months, they came back.
"Dr. Bergstein called me one day and said 'Hey I have this idea, it's new. Wanna try it?'"
Using a small catheter, Dr. Bergstein guided a tiny web-like implant called Sinuva into Korn's sinus cavity.
The corticosteroid-eluting implant was approved last November by the Food and Drug Administration based on data from clinical studies of 400 patients, including the RESOLVE II study. Sinuva can be implanted during a routine physician visit under local or topical anesthesia.
Once in place, Korn wasn't able to feel it.
The implant is designed to release an anti-inflammatory medicine for 90 days.
"Over the course of the three months, the polyps melt away," explained Dr. Bergstein,
Two weeks after the procedure, Korn woke up and could smell again.
He says his sense of smell and taste are now back to normal.
"It was a really easy procedure that turned my life around."
It's kept his kitchen and career on track.
The Sinuva implant took just ten minutes under a topical anesthesia in Dr. Bergstein's office.
Korn said it was less uncomfortable than having a root canal.
Sinuva is FDA-approved and is covered by most insurance.
If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at email@example.com.