- Skin (Percutaneous) Testing
Small amounts of allergens are placed on the skin using a specially designed multi-testing unit. Seasonal, non-seasonal, animal, and food allergens can be easily tested by simply observing the body’s response to the introduced allergen on the skin surface. Depending on your individual response, a tiny amount of allergen can be placed beneath the skin to confirm the diagnosis. This specific method is known as MQT (modified quantitative testing) and is at the forefront of allergy testing models. The advantages of percutaneous testing are:
- Minimal pain
- Performed in the office
- Easy for pediatric and adults
- Immediate results
- Results can be used to customize allergy therapy
- Blood Testing
The most commonly performed blood test is called a RAST test, which stands for radioallergosorbent test. This method requires a blood draw, which is then sent to a special lab that analyzes the allergic profile. However, only specific labs are designed to perform this study. Since skin testing is readily available to nearly all patients, we avoid blood testing for several reasons. The major disadvantages of blood testing include:
- Results may take several days to acquire
- Not available in all labs
- Results cannot be used to guide allergy therapy
We encourage all of our patients to try non-surgical methods to help treat their symptoms. Although balloon sinuplasty treatments are very effective in opening the sinuses, the addition of medications helps to maintain good sinus health. These include:
- Nasal steroid sprays (Flonase, Nasonex, Rhinocort, Nasocort, Qnasal)
- Nasal antihistamine sprays (Astelin, Patanol)
- Oral antihistamines (Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, Clarinex)
Because allergic rhinitis and sinusitis are caused by hypersensitivity our immune system to specific allergens, one method of treatment involves introducing the specific allergen to the body in stepwise dosages until the body can tolerate the allergen without creating an allergic response. This is provided in traditional allergy shots or using allergy drops (sublingual).
If you can simply remove or avoid the allergen, this is the simplest way to treat an allergy. However, because most patients suffer from allergies that cannot be controlled, such as environmental allergens, this can be very challenging in most instances. With food allergies, avoidance is the mainstay of treatment.
This represents the newest and safest FDA approved procedure to treat chronic and recurrent sinusitis. A tiny catheter that carries a small balloon is used to gently open the blocked sinus passages and restore natural sinus flow. This is performed in the office, under endoscopic guidance, with the use of topical liquid anesthesia. No nasal packing is required, and recovery time is as little as 12-24 hours.