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YOUR HEALTH: A nose implant that dissolves and makes breathing easier

HOUSTON, Texas – "When I would try to jog or run, I would not turn red, I would actually turn purple. It was just exhausting."

Courtney Bade had no stamina and wasn't sleeping well so she sought help.

"(My doctor) noticed that when I did breathe, the side of my nose would cave in."

Structures inside in her nose blocked nasal passages, limiting her oxygen supply.   The doctor recommended a new device.

"LATERA is an implant made out of polylactic acid: it's dissolvable, and it's a bioactive stimulator of collagen," explained Dr. Jose Barrera from the Texas Center for Facial Plastic Surgery.

Which helps keep the airways open.

"And then, once it dissolves," the doctor added, "which it will dissolve over two years, it leaves behind a little collagen track which supports the sidewall."

NEW TECHNOLOGY:   LATERA is an implant that is a bio-active stimulator collagen.  While the patient is awake, doctors numb the internal lining of the nose with nasal spray or gel.   Then they deploy the implant, the size of an ear bud, through a small cannula.

The implant surgery takes only 20 minutes, under local anesthesia, with a minimal recovery time of one week.

"They can actually resume normal activities the next day, no splints, no packing, they can breathe better right away," said Dr. Barrera.

After about a month, Courtney saw a marked improvement in her breathing.

"I was actually able to jog," she said.  "I didn't turn different colors."

"If you feel during the daytime that you have nasal obstruction, you feel congested, you feel blocked, you feel like you cant breathe out of one side compared to the other," said Dr. Barrera.  "Then it's time for an evaluation."

"I did not know that I had a problem, but having it fixed is amazing," added Courtney.

The FDA approved the medical implant for use at the end of 2016.  It is covered on a case by case basis by most health insurance companies.

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 jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.