Chronic sinusitis is a recurring inflammation which can occur in any of the four sinus cavities, most often caused by allergies, smoking, viruses, or bacteria, or some combination of these triggers. It can cause a variety of symptoms including pain and discomfort, as well as congestion and post-nasal drip. One of the most innovative treatment methods for sinusitis today is photodisinfection therapy. In this process, a non-thermal laser beam is aimed at the site of infection or inflammation in the sinus cavity and instantly kills any bacteria contributing to the sinusitis condition.
Typically, patients who have chronic sinusitis are first treated with medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, antibiotics, nasal steroids, or saline solutions, since these medicines are usually inexpensive and can be bought over the counter. In many cases, these medications are successful in managing the symptoms of chronic sinusitis, but even so, long-term usage often carries side effects that make these treatments less than ideal.
It’s also true that at least 20% of all patients experiencing chronic sinusitis do not respond favorably at all to any of these types of medications. Historically, for such unresponsive patients, there have been few alternatives available other than to seek a surgical solution. Invasive surgeries, however, are usually used as a last resort solution to the problem. Photodisinfection is now offering a very real and effective potential solution for those people who’ve already tried the traditional methods of treatment without success.
What is Photodisinfection?
Photodisinfection is a non-antibiotic treatment which works much faster than any antibiotics can, which means it can bring relief to someone who has sinusitis within minutes or hours rather than a period of days or weeks. Photodisinfection uses antimicrobial photodynamic therapy, in which a balloon catheter delivers the laser beam to the site of infection.
This process has the effect of destroying any drug-resistant biofilms which may be resident on the sinus membranes and eliminates bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Because it uses safe laser light, there is a minimal or no inflammatory response, which contributes to quick recovery time. In the immediate aftermath of the process, almost instant relief is felt by the patient, because of the real-time elimination of the causes of the original sinusitis.
How Photodisinfection Works
The photodisinfection process effectively destroys exotoxins, and endotoxins, and both intracellular and extracellular pathogens, even destroying polymicrobial biofilms which have demonstrated resistance to antibiotics. Even a single treatment of photodisinfection has been proven to be more than 99% effective at killing targeted fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
The reason it can be so effective is that it targets only those organisms which have absorbed a photosensitizer introduced at the site of inflammation or infection in the sinus cavities. The laser light used in the process is carefully controlled at a specific wavelength so that it has no effect on healthy human tissues. Contrary to the use of antibiotics, there has been no evidence of growing resistance to photodisinfection treatments on the part of targeted bacteria.
Photodisinfection has undergone thorough clinical testing and has produced remarkably consistent results with patients who have had little or no success with the more traditional treatment methods. It is a well-understood process which relies on a very simple mechanism for its effectiveness.
The first step in the process calls for applying a photosensitizing solution to the site in the sinus cavity which has been targeted for treatment. These photosensitizing molecules bind themselves to microbes which been targeted, but at this stage, the photosensitizing molecules remain in an inactive state.
Next, laser light at a carefully predetermined wavelength is trained on the treatment site, with the specific wavelength chosen to maximize absorption of the light by the photosensitizing molecules already in place, and bound to the microbes. When the lasers come in contact with the infection site, it triggers a photocatalytic reaction destroying the problematic microbes, while leaving healthy tissue unaffected.
During this process, a whole plethora of virulence factors are also eliminated, reducing inflammation at the site as well. When the laser light is removed, the entire photocatalytic reaction terminates, with no further actions occurring.
A One and Done Treatment
Because this whole process works instantaneously, there is no time for microorganisms to develop resistance to photodisinfection. This accounts for the fact that bacteria have not demonstrated any resistance to recurring photodisinfection treatments, and allows for repeated treatments to be administered if necessary.
The demonstrated immediacy of both the anti-inflammatory effects as well as the anti-microbial effects make photodisinfection therapy one of the most effective treatments of chronic sinusitis available today.