In January Keele was featured in the Daily Inter Lake for being the first clinician to bring to the Kalispell, MT, area the practice of sinuplasty to help patients with blocked or painful sinuses. He practices with Glacier Ear, Nose and Throat in Kalispell. The procedure, which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for nine years, involves inserting a small catheter into the sinus passageway and inflating a tiny balloon that widens or restructures the sinus, allowing for normal drainage. The procedure itself generally takes less than 15 minutes and is done in the office.
According to the article, the previous method of sinus surgery was invasive, costly and bloody. This endoscopic surgery (also known as minimally invasive surgery) was effective but inconvenient.
“There is a huge saving costs here,” Keele told the newspaper. “There’s no operating room, no anesthesia. The big thing is there is no packing (with gauze). People have compared it to getting their teeth cleaned.”
Sinuplasty works in a similar way as angioplasty, where a catheter is inserted into a blocked artery and a tiny balloon is inflated to crush and free up the blockage (typically plaque as a result of the artery wall thickening).
The difference is that sinuplasty can actually remodel the bone and keep blocked sinuses open.
“The stand-alone balloon sinuplasty is as effective as traditional endoscopic surgery,” Keele was quoted in the article. “It is safe, quick, clean and can save health care money. It works very well on patients with heart problems or who are older.”
Keele grew up in Idaho Falls, ID, and attended Idaho State University in Pocatello. After graduating from DMU, he spent five years at St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, MI, completing an otolaryngology and facial plastic surgery residency. He has been in the Flathead Valley for just over six months.
He was trained in sinuplasty on more difficult patients, such as those with deviated septums. The procedure can relieve massive sinus headaches that have caused some of his patients to take sick days.
“The big thing is people haven’t heard about sinuplasty,” Keele said. “I want to have a discussion with these people, where we can rule out allergies and see if the procedure is right for them.”