222 S. Greenleaf St., Suite 102, Gurnee, IL 60031
Office: 847-662-4442 Fax: 847-662-4446
1880 West Winchester Rd., Suite 103, Libertyville, IL 60048
Office: 847-367-5770

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Mar
19

Severe Snoring, Sleepless Nights – a Real Pain in the Neck! Libertyville Doctor Helps Kids, Adults Overcome Tonsil-related Turmoil

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A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by when constant snoring and potentially dangerous sleep apnea keep you from getting any quality rest. Now imagine dealing with such severe sleep issues when you’re only five-years-old.

“He would be waking up two to three times a night with severe snoring as well as some sleep apnea,” said Robin Carman of Mundelein about her five-year-old son, Trevor. “After talking to my pediatrician about my son’s symptoms, he also asked if Trevor was a restless sleeper. That question made me realize just how much of a restless sleeper he was – waking up 2-3 times a night.”

To get a better understanding of what might be causing her son’s sleep issues, Carman’s pediatrician referred her to Dr. Benjamin C. Johnson, M.D., an otolaryngologist with Lake County ENT/Head & Neck Specialists in Libertyville . After an initial examination, Dr. Johnson determined that the problem was rooted in her son’s tonsils. But rather than recommending a traditional tonsillectomy, Dr. Johnson suggested a special procedure he performs that’s less-invasive, less-painful and works for children and adults.

“It’s called an intracapsular tonsillectomy and involves shaving off most of the tonsil except for a small amount,” explained Dr. Johnson. “By leaving a small portion of the tonsil, the large nerves and blood vessels aren’t exposed and that greatly decreases the risk of bleeding and post-procedural pain.”

According to Dr. Johnson, intracapsular tonsillectomies are mainly performed on patients with large, obstructing tonsils and not for those suffering from chronic tonsillitis. Furthermore, the recovery often does not require any narcotic pain medicine, which can be dangerous for children. In fact, most patients who’ve had the procedure only have a mild sore throat for a few days – compared to the 7-14 days of severe pain that patients may experience following a traditional tonsillectomy.

“I think the actual procedure was only about ten minutes,” said Carman of her son’s procedure. “He was having a Popsicle and watching cartoons in the recovery area when I went back to be with him and he spent relaxing while eating applesauce and drinking milkshakes.”

Carman was also impressed with her son’s rapid recovery. “Trevor had the procedure on a Friday morning, went back to school on Monday, and was back to being 100% himself by Wednesday.”

“The procedure doesn’t take a lot of time and eliminates a lot of soreness and pain that comes afterwards,” Dr. Johnson added. “However, intracapsular tonsillectomies are only for specific patients dealing with the negative effects of enlarged tonsils. After an initial discussion with your pediatrician or primary care physician, it may be worth seeking the opinion of an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist if symptoms persist and get worse.”

To learn more about intracapsular tonsillectomies and how Lake County ENT/Head & Neck Specialists in Libertyville help children and adults, please call 847-367-5770.

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Sep
01

When Every Breath You Take is a Chore: Dealing with Chronic Sinus Issues

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Chronic Rhino-Sinusitis can feel as painful as it sounds. Also known as CRS, it’s a condition that may start out feeling like a common cold before turning much worse.

CRS may begin with a runny nose sparked by nasal congestion before inflamed sinuses lead to facial pain, headaches, losing sense of smell, snoring and even bad breath. Since it feels like you caught a cold at first, sufferers may rely on normal remedies such as nose drops or nasal sprays for treatment. But when those don’t seem to do the trick and you end up suffering for several weeks, it could be time to see an ENT specialist.

“When we are healthy, our sinuses are filled with air,” said Dr. Benjamin C. Johnson, M.D., an otolaryngologist with Lake County ENT/Head & Neck Specialists in Libertyville. “But when inflammation in the nose lining causes sinus openings to become blocked, the sinuses fill with mucus which gets infected by bacteria. Once this cycle starts, it could become a chronic condition that requires more than over-the-counter medicines or prescription antibiotics.”

Most patients only require a prescription or other medical therapy to treat CRS, but others enduring symptoms for an extended period of time may have to undergo what’s called endoscopic sinus surgery. In that procedure, tiny telescopes are used to look into the nose.  The natural openings are found and made larger.  This prevents the openings from swelling shut from allergies or viral infections.

One Patient’s Story

“I have suffered from chronic sinusitis since an early age and pretty much all my life,” said Glenn Miller, a patient of Dr. Johnson and area resident who had endured CRS for more than 30 years. Miller said that after his initial visit, Dr. Johnson started him on a course of treatment featuring antibiotics, Prednisone and daily nasal rinses. But after about 30 days, he said his CRS returned with a vengeance.

“Our only alternative was surgery,” added Miller. He underwent the procedure in May and now says things are much better. “The surgery worked remarkably well.  Now I am able to breathe through my nose consistently and the infections are much less frequent.”

Advanced Treatment

Newer medical technology has made endoscopic sinus surgery less invasive and more effective than previous procedures. Also, new dissolvable nasal packing is used after sinus surgery.  This is can just be gently suctioned out as it dissolves which is much less painful than removing solid packs.

“Because early stages of CRS in adults and children mirror the common cold, many patients will probably start out by taking the usual cold medications and putting up with it for a while,” added Dr. Johnson.  “But after several weeks go by and nothing seems to be working, that’s when it may be time to see a specialist who can accurately diagnose a chronic condition and prescribe treatment for infection that leads to a quicker recovery and clearer days ahead.”

To learn more on how ENTs can help patients of all ages and about Lake County ENT/Head & Neck Specialists in Libertyville, please visit www.lakecountyent.com or call 847-367-5770.

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Aug
24

Treating Chronic Sinusitis Without Surgery

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New procedure treats chronic sinusitis without invasive surgery or drugs

Suzanne Simpson calls it her “never ending nightmare”: years of chronic sinusitis with life-threatening symptoms. When the unseasonably mild winter intensified her condition, and she struggled to breathe, it was time to do something more.

Ben Johnson, MD, a Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital board-certified otolaryngologist (an ear, nose and throat specialist) performed a balloon sinusplasty at the Northwestern Grayslake Surgery Center. Simpson got back her breath—and her quality of life—without invasive surgery or more drugs.

Simpson is a former Illinois state representative who currently holds the elected seat of Warren Township Supervisor, overseeing all of the township’s programs and services. She has lived in Lake County her entire life and delivered her two daughters, Janet and Michelle, at Northwestern Lake Forest. She is also one of the 37 million people who suffer from sinusitis, a common health condition in which persistent trouble breathing, pressure, pain, fatigue and headache are considered as debilitating as chronic back pain or congestive heart failure.

A Proven Alternative to Traditional Surgery

Traditionally, sinusitis has been treated with medication and functional endoscopic sinus surgery or “sinus scraping,” which involves removing small amounts of bone and lining in the sinus cavity to open it wider. In contrast, balloon sinusplasty uses a catheter to insert a tiny balloon inflated just enough to open the passages—similar to the way that cardiologists will use a catheter and stent to open blocked arteries.

“Endoscopic surgery is now seen as more harsh and less effective than balloon sinusplasty, and it carries risks to the eyes and brain,” explains Dr. Johnson. “We’ve learned that we need to leave the normal anatomy alone, and sinusplasty keeps the lining intact. Because there’s no cutting or scraping, there is faster recovery and no serious complications. A little over-the-counter pain medication and the patient is back at work the next day.”

The Benefits of Expertise

In Simpson’s case, the sinusitis was aggravated by lifelong allergies, so she was thrilled to learn that the procedure helps manage ongoing swelling from recurring allergies. She credits Dr. Johnson, as well as board-certified allergist/immunologist Joel Klein, MD, for putting her on a path to easier breathing and a more active lifestyle.

“I’m absolutely satisfied—I can breathe again, and I’m getting back into some of the activities I had put on hold, “ she says. “I heard horror stories about sinus scraping, and I’m so glad I had access to balloon sinusplasty.“

The manufacturer of the balloon sinusplasty instruments won’t allow physicians without significant experience and training to purchase and use the devices. Simpson considers Dr. Johnson’s expertise and his holistic approach key to her recovery.

“He didn’t want to just go in and start cutting— he collaborated with my allergist, Dr. Klein, explained everything to me, and helped me understand how to take better care of myself. When we talked, I was the only person in the room.”

Sinusitis vs. Viruses—Do you need ENT care?

Dr. Johnson notes that many people chalk sinusitis up to a virus, especially since the symptoms are similar to cold or flu: sinus pressure, loss of smell or taste, headache, fatigue, sore throat, mucus discharge and difficulty breathing. Many visit a primary care physician repeatedly for antibiotics to treat the infection.

But sinus infection is more often a secondary problem caused by blocked sinuses.

“The underlying problem is inflammation,” he explains. “The pinholes in your sinuses swell shut, and normal mucus pools there and becomes infected. Balloon sinusplasty opens up that area, the cilia [vibrating hair-like structures] can move material out, and you avoid infection and its related symptoms.”

He recommends seeing an ENT if you have symptoms of sinusitis for more than two weeks, or if you experience them several times each year. An ENT will typically start with a medication regimen. If that does not improve the sinusitis, surgical options are discussed with the patient.

 

The Northwestern Grayslake Advantage

Balloon sinusplasty and a wide range of other minimally invasive and general surgical procedures can be performed close to home, at the Northwestern Grayslake Surgery Center. Northwestern Grayslake offers a calm, quiet, comforting environment in a beautiful natural setting with many amenities for patients and their families.

“I couldn’t believe I could get such an advanced procedure five minutes from my house,” says Simpson. “Everyone was so wonderful and professional, and the nurses are constantly there for you. There’s no waiting, and it’s a clean, beautiful, calming environment. As a public official, I’m so pleased that our communities have a facility like this.”

The Benefits of Balloon Sinusplasty

Compared with traditional endoscopic sinus surgery, or repeated rounds of antibiotics, balloon sinusplasty offers minimally invasive, long-lasting relief and wellness.

  • Safe and effective
  • Minimally Invasive
  • Local anesthetic
  • Reduced bleeding
  • Fast recovery time
  • Low risk to eyes, brain
  • Long-lasting
  • Does not limit future treatment options
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May
06

Seeking a Specialist to Help the Young and Restless

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For Nicole Sesi of Libertyville, it all started with an ear infection that was making her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter miserable.

Even with multiple rounds of antibiotics, her toddler’s recurrent earaches kept coming back. “She would have temperatures of over 100 degrees and severe ear pain that made it very difficult for her to sleep. She was extremely fussy and irritable,” Sesi said.

To complicate matters, Sesi’s daughter began developing gastro-intestinal (GI) issues triggered by multiple doses of antibiotics that weren’t fighting off the ear infections. That’s when she decided to take the next step in seeking help for her daughter. In a search for help, they soon visited the Libertyville office of Dr. Benjamin C. Johnson, M.D., an otolaryngologist with Lake County ENT/Head & Neck Specialists. Johnson, an ear nose and throat (ENT) physician experienced in treating adults and children, knew Sesi’s daughter was dealing with something far beyond a typical ear infection.

“When a child endures several ear infections in a matter of months, it’s time to investigate whether treatment needs to move up a level from antibiotics prescribed after the initial exam,” Johnson said. “I usually don’t see kids until they’ve had 6 or more infections because pediatricians prescribe standard treatments that take time to determine whether they’re working or not.”

The condition affecting Sesi’s daughter stemmed from chronic middle ear infections and the solution came from a unique form of outpatient surgery. Dr. Johnson recommended what’s called pressure equalization tube replacement. The procedure calls for placing tiny tubes in the ear drums that equalize the pressure in the middle ear to prevent fluid buildup – which triggers middle ear infections. Despite sounding very technical and invasive, pressure equalization tube replacement is completed under a brief, general anesthesia and only takes a few minutes. Johnson says his patients feel little if any pain after the procedure and can go back to their normal routines right away – even a toddler. The tubes stay in for about 6 – 12 months and then fall out on their own.

“Knowing what I know now, I would have taken my daughter to see an ENT much sooner in the process,” added Sesi. “Dr. Johnson diagnosed the situation right away and it was such a relief to know she was going to be better. The more information you have and the sooner you have it, the better you can decide what the right course of action will be.”

When a chronic condition affecting a child’s head or neck warrants an exam by an ENT, parents don’t necessarily have to seek one out who only specializes in treating children. “General ENTs based in a family’s local area are experts at treating children as well as adults, said Johnson. “The first visit should always be to your child’s pediatrician, but trained ENT specialists who treat kids with chronic head and neck conditions that just won’t subside may be closer than you think.”

To learn more on how ENTs can help patients of all ages and about Lake County ENT/Head & Neck Specialists in Libertyville, please visit www.lakecountyent.com or call 847-367-5770.

Direct Article Link: http://triblocal.com/libertyville/community/stories/2012/05/seeking-a-specialist-to-help-the-young-and-restless/

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May
06

Clearing the Airway and Then Some: How ENTs Help Patients of All Ages

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Otolaryngology – not the easiest medical specialty to say, so most people shed the syllables and go with ear, nose and throat or ENT. Both terms have been around for quite a while to describe the practice of treating patients for everything from sinus conditions and ear aches to full-scale head and neck surgeries. In fact, otolaryngology is the oldest medical specialty in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (www.ent.org).

ENTs may best be known for treating adults suffering from chronic conditions involving nasal/sinus issues, ear problems and tonsillitis. However, ENTs also treat children for a variety of pediatric issues related to the head and neck.

“We don’t take over for pediatricians when it comes to primary health care for children, but ENTs are specially trained to treat conditions that can become chronic and quite painful for young patients,” said Dr. Benjamin C. Johnson, M.D., an otolaryngologist with Lake County ENT/Head & Neck Specialists in Libertyville. “In fact, symptoms for a particular ailment may appear differently for children than adults and treatment methods may vary.”

Some common ENT-related conditions found in younger patients include interference with proper breathing related to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and chronic tonsillitis. Pediatric ear issues treated by ENTs can range from heavy wax buildup to ear infections and hearing loss.

“Obviously, it’s not necessary for a child to see a specialist for a runny nose or a common head cold,” Dr. Johnson added. “But when a condition affecting the ears, nose and throat becomes chronic, more painful and doesn’t seem to be getting better with initial treatment, that’s when you or your pediatrician may inquire about seeing whether an ENT can help.”

All ENTs are trained to care for children. Although pediatric ENTs are specially trained to care for newborn babies with airway problems, they are typically not needed for additional consultation regarding children with the ear, sinus or tonsil problems. To learn more on how ENTs can help children and adults and about Lake County ENT/Head & Neck Specialists in Libertyville, please visit www.lakecountyent.com or call 847-367-5770.

Direct Article Link: http://libertyville.patch.com/blog_posts/clearing-the-airway-and-then-some-how-ents-help-patients-of-all-ages-02ff91ff

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