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The new nasal procedures available have a strong chance of curing people’s problems instead of just managing them

Dr. F. Robert Glatz, an otolaryngologist with Valley Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists (VENT), originally from Springfield, Illinois, is a vital part of the superb health care of the Rio Grande Valley. Like so many of our local physicians, Dr. Glatz recognized the medical needs of our area and decided that the warmer weather would be an added bonus to helping a community in need of his skills. Working in the Harlingen, Weslaco and McAllen offices as well as in Laredo one day every other week, Dr. Glatz is able to attend to a broad range of otolaryngological (head and neck surgery) cases to help his patients.

The importance of ear, nose and throat care is greater than generally believed. “So many people are affected by breathing problems, particularly at night. Sleep disturbance can result in a drastic increased risk of stroke, atherosclerosis, heart failure, depression, anxiety, daytime imbalance, weight gain and, in children, developmental delays. For years we did not understand the importance of sleep and doctors are having to learn about all the new data that has become available on sleep breathing disorders,” says Dr. Glatz.

Children, particularly, are susceptible to sleep breathing problems. Because their brains are still developing, the disruption of sleep can cause learning problems and developmental delays. We now know that night time breathing problems may be the cause of 30% of ADHD diagnoses. Nighttime breathing issues are usually separate from sinus problems and are typically due to tonsil and adenoid issues in children less than 16 years old.

Balloon sinuplasty is probably one of the most remarkable new developments in ENT care. “It has really been a game changer,” remarks Dr. Glatz. Before, patients required general anesthesia and sometimes packing and nasal splints. He continues, “Now, with balloon sinuplasty, we can avoid all of that. We are even able to treat more complicated cases, like septal deviations and nasal polyposis, in the office under sedation. It essentially turns what used to be a major surgery into an office procedure.”

There are many patients who suffer from nasal obstruction (chronic stuffy nose) who may benefit from what is now a simple in-office procedure. “Many doctors are talking about balloon sinuplasty, which is a wonderful option for the right diagnosis, but it may not be the correct or best option for every patient. We also do turbinate reductions under local anesthesia in our office, which can drastically improve a person’s ability to breathe. There are so many people who have problems breathing at night, while eating or during exercise. Often they have resorted to nasal sprays and medications that don’t really help the problem, but that isn’t necessary with recent ENT developments,” clarifies Dr. Glatz.

So many times in medicine, doctors make people a little better. For example, allergies: One can treat allergies with a barrage of medication and/or shots, which will lessen allergic reactions; however, patients will need to continue with the medication or shots to maintain a sense of relief. “The new nasal procedures available have a strong chance of curing people’s problems instead of just managing them. It is also quite fun to help develop a technique and to try to perfect a different skill set,” says Dr. Glatz.

“I have been fortunate to be invited to participate in a national study comparing navigated instrumentation (essentially a sinus GPS) and light guided instrumentation. We performed 30 procedures on cadavers and compared the results. It was interesting to be asked to participate because only a few doctors nationwide were included in the study. Being included is due in part to the commitment that Valley Ear, Nose and Throat and my partners have made to helping develop these new techniques.”

“My partners (Drs. Wright, Sorce, Rowin, Hemer, Picou and Macrae, and Milov.) all perform balloon sinuplasty in the office so VENT has been able to purchase some amazing image guidance equipment for the office. As of a few months ago, we were the only office practice in the nation to have such progressive equipment. So it has been very beneficial to be part of a large group,” Dr. Glatz comments.

Dr. Glatz and his wife have three girls who keep them busy. “Being 43 with two young children and a 6-month-old really helps keeps me young,” he says with a smile. Beyond his family, Dr. Glatz really enjoys extreme sports—kiteboarding, wakeboarding and motorcross. Most recently he has taken up motorcross and he admits, “Even though I am not fast, I have a lot of fun and have made some great friends.”

The doctor’s advice: If you have trouble breathing day or night, talk to your doctor. You may need a sleep study, medication, a pat on the back or a visit with me. But burying your head in the sand will not solve your problems. Make 2014 the year to be pro-active. In short, Breath, Go, Live! You’ll be Glatz you did.

Medical Degree:
Wake Forest (Tim Duncan’s alma mater)
Southern Illinois University
Johns Hopkins

By Charlotte Libov