It felt very weird. Not painful, but weird. The whole process took less than an hour.
The doctor’s assistant numbed the inside of my nose using lidocaine on a q-tip.
The doctor injected a local anesthetic twice on both sides. That’s when I started feeling light headed. It’s apparently very common for patients to faint at that point, since the injections are taking place in an area with a lot of nerves.
Dr. Robson Capasso (who introduces himself by his first name, which I like) tilted the chair back for me as soon as I said I was feeling light headed (which nicely prevented me from falling out of the chair, yay). He had a resident shadowing him, and so he was explaining as he did things (and you know how awesome I find that).
He inserted the RF needle into each turbinate – I believe he did that three times on the right and four on the left (I am told by a friend that you can have 3-4 turbinates per side). It didn’t hurt, but I did feel a lot of pressure. As he ran the RF, it felt to me like the needle was vibrating. All in all, it felt like he was running a small drill into my nose. There was a bit of pain at the very end of each drilling/RF session.
He explained to the resident that he felt the standard recommendation for how long to run the RF was too long, and that he stopped just short of that since he found it produced less crusting. In my case, it also timed pretty well with when I began to feel pain. So, it seemed well calibrated to me.
My boyfriend, who’s currently doing R&D for an RF device, tells me the vibrating feeling was actually the cells next to the needle exploding.
(I would like to note, it never hurt much. It was uncomfortable, but not painful. Even now, the skin inside my nose just feels tight and dry. I did have a mild headache after the procedure, but two advil took care of that.)
Step 4: Discussion with Doctor
BF: What’s causing her obstruction?
Robson: That, my friend, is the million dollar question. If you can find the answer to that, you will be a very wealthy man.
Apparently, my upper jaw is small, which may be the issue. In which case, the mandibular advancement surgery would be the only surgical intervention that might work. I’m not interested in that one. I’d much rather use CPAP for the rest of my life. Right now, we’re trying to make CPAP use more effective.
Robson says this is just the beginning. We’ll keep trying things until we find something that works for me. I like that. I have a follow up with him next week, at which point my nose should be healed.
- I’m supposed to keep my nose moist using a neutral saline nose spray
- If I get a bad nose bleed, call them and go to the ER
- No CPAP use for a week
- No blowing my nose
- Advil and Tylenol are okay, but no Aspirin
- Afrin nose spray twice a day for three days to keep the inflammation down
- Try really hard not to sneeze.