Merriam, Kan. In an effort to cure their allergies, many patients endure weekly shots and visits to their physicians office. Patients may now receive an innovative allergy drop therapy that allows them to avoid both the painful shots and the frequent visits on the Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC) campus.
Katherine Aberle, MD, and Jay A. Dunfield, MD, both offer the allergy drop treatment, officially called sublingual immunotherapy. Patients must first be tested for allergies to confirm their specific allergens, and then are given small amounts of the allergens in drop form under the tongue. Children as young as three-years-old may begin the therapy, which is given daily at home over three to five years.
The allergy drop therapy is life-changing for patients with allergies, says Aberle. Especially in the case of children, the convenience and ease of this treatment compared to the traditional shot treatment is much more easily managed by parents and tolerated by our patients who would otherwise be lifelong allergy sufferers.
Allergy drop therapy does not present the high risks of serious reactions that allergy shots do, particularly in patients with asthma. With allergy shots, patients visit their physicians office each week and then must wait 30 minutes after the shot is administered to monitor for a serious reaction. With drop therapy, the most common side effects include tingling or brief itching after the drop has been administered. This can be easily pre-treated with a dose of antihistamine prior to administration, which is one reason why patients are able to perform drop therapy at home.
Aberle and Dunfield also offer in-office balloon sinuplasty, a minimally invasive approach to opening the sinuses that allows for quick recovery (patients can return to work the next day) and lower cost. The ideal patient is someone who suffers from sinus pain and pressure, frequent sinus infections, fatigue or nasal congestion. Aberle and Dunfield use the Medtronic NuVent balloon, which features sinus navigation tools similar to GPS. This technology allows surgery to be extremely precise and safe. The navigation technology has been used throughout the country for ENT surgeons performing sinus surgeries for several years, however, its application in the in-office sinus surgery arena is cutting-edge.
Aberle and Dunfield treat the full range of ear, nose and throat related disorders. A graduate of Rush Medical College in Chicago, Aberle completed her residency at the University of Nebraska Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. Dunfield has expertise in thyroid and sinus surgery. He graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and completed his residency at Indiana University. Both are Board-certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology.
About Shawnee Mission Health
Shawnee Mission Health (SMH) is a network of health care facilities and services located throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area and surrounding communities. The network includes Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC) in Merriam, Kan., a 504-bed facility with more than 20,000 inpatient admissions and more than 200,000 outpatient admissions annually; SMH Prairie Star, a comprehensive health care facility located in western Lenexa, Kan.; as well as physician practices located throughout Johnson and Leavenworth Counties. SMH serves more than 70,000 patients in its emergency departments annually, has the area's first accredited Chest Pain Emergency Center and delivers more babies each year at SMMC than any other hospital in the metropolitan area. SMH also has some of the highest customer service or HCAHPS scores in the Kansas City metro. The network employs more than 3,000 local residents and supports an exceptional staff of 700 physicians representing 50 medical specialties, the largest medical staff of any full-service hospital in Kansas City. Visit us online at ShawneeMission.org.