Dr. Handler went on The Morning Blend to share how the root cause of snoring, sleep apnea, chronic sinus infections, and congestion can often be treated without surgery.
[Molly] If your nose doesn't work like it should, life can really be frustrating. It can lead to snoring, sleep apnea and chronic congestion and sinus infections. In today's Sleep Well, Breathe Well series with ADVENT, we're going to learn that you don't have to just live with it.
Dr. Ethan Handler says these issues can often be solved with simple, in-office procedures. Good morning to you, doctor.
[Dr. Handler] Good morning. How are you?
[Molly] I'm doing great. Thank you. You're an ENT, and I'm wondering, for people who are not familiar with that specialty, if you could explain your focus.
[Dr. Handler] Yeah. So ENT stands for ear, nose and throat. Yet at ADVENT, really, we focus in on an area that we refer to as The Breathing TriangleÂ®. And so what that is is think about a triangle that's upside down, so really, your two nostrils and your mouth kind of form that triangle, as you can see there. And so, if there's a problem in any one of those holes, you're going to have a problem breathing, sleeping, quality of life...
[Dr. Handler] It can be very debilitating for patients. So we really focus in on this area, that niche.
[Molly] What's amazing to me and you mentioned the word debilitating, what's amazing is how debilitating it is for people. Yet they just live with it.
[Dr. Handler] Right? It's one of those things. They kind of sneak up on individuals and they live a certain way and don't really notice it. But feel off, right? Fatigue, not being there, you know, full 100% potential. And it really starts with sleep, but it stems from breathing problems, right? And so I like to use this analogy that if you take little baby steps but you travel long distance, you don't really realize how far you've gone. And that can relate to a disease state or a chronic nasal obstruction and breathing issues.
[Molly] Yeah, that makes sense. You're a surgeon, doctor, so I think it might surprise people how many in-office procedures that you do with very little downtime that are super easy for people to recover from.
[Dr. Handler] Yeah. So I mean, certainly as a surgeon, we like to do things and intervene and help patients, right? And that's how we're trained. And so you know why we do so many procedures in the office versus in a hospital setting or in an operative room setting is really patient driven.
And so it's how things have evolved over the years. As surgeons of this practice, we've had to evolve our own skill set and learn how to do things on awake patients, get them numb, get them comfortable so that we can treat them appropriately, but do it in a more less invasive fashion in the office setting.
[Molly] It's so great to hear that people experience such tremendous relief with an in-office procedure. We see this patient smiling there, which is so fantastic. Why do you think you're one of the few practices that offers in-office procedures like the ones that you do?
[Dr. Handler] Yeah, I think it really just comes down to how we're set up, right? So I mean, I think that ADVENT being an independent practice really allows us to kind of offer the full breadth of options. So really, when it comes down to a patient coming in to see us, you know, of course, we could choose to do nothing or a patient could. But that's not all that common. You know, they could continue with medical management, but really, it's this pathway between an office type procedure, less downtime still very effective versus a traditional operating room approach and bigger box health care systems just have different pressures and different setups, right?
So they have operating rooms and those need to be used. And not that there's something wrong with that. There is it, but it's just that we can offer other options as well.
[Molly] And with those other options that you offer in office, are you really seeing that they're efficient? Are they really helpful in providing true relief and are they as simple as we've grown to learn?
[Dr. Handler] Very good question. Yeah, I mean, I think one of the most important keys to ADVENT is that we're a collaborative team here, right? So we work with all of the providers and that's great skilled nurse practitioners, PAs, surgeons.
And so that's what creates that experience to be more efficient for the patient when they come in. So that's key. And then it's also having done a lot of these procedures with all the surgeons across ADVENT, right?
So you get better when you do something multiple times. Right. So for lack of a better analogy, you know, dentists can do things under local anesthetic, and so we do as well. And really, ten to 20 minutes is about that time frame that it takes to be, you know, get something done and be maximally effective.
Could you always level up and go to the operating room? You never burn that bridge. But as a patient myself, and having had this done, I didn't want to jump to that point. Why would I start there when I can start with something that is more low key, very effective, and if I need to bump things down the road and be more aggressive, I could have, even as a patient myself.
[Molly] And I love that you and Dr. Kandula both know what it's like to be patients of the type of procedures that you so often talk to us about. And lastly, I just wonder, you know, you mentioned that breathing triangle. How would you know that now is the time that you should be getting an evaluation? What are some? Signs that you need to be diagnosed and looked at.
[Dr. Handler] Yeah, I mean, one of the things that's always the tip of the iceberg is sleep, fatigue, quality of life, from that standpoint. Oftentimes people don't think about what's beneath the iceberg, right? The tip of it, but it stems from a nose that's not working, then has this ripple effect into not only daily quality of life and not
breathing well, but then also from a sleep quality. As I say, often, if I wanted to give somebody a horrible night's sleep, I'd stuff up their nose. Think about when you have a cold, right, and some people just kind of live that life always, but don't really think about it or perceive it as much.
So it's about coming in and getting evaluated, letting us take a look. And then we take kind of a top down approach from the nose that's workingâ€"it needs to work. And then we tackle the throat problem if one exists.
[Molly] And I love that it's as easy as getting evaluated. And I know you do CT scans, too of the sinuses, which helps you determine the problem. Doctor, thank you so much for your time today.
[Dr. Handler] You're welcome. Yeah, great to talk to you.
[Molly] Yeah, you too. And there's no reason to just live with sinus problems. ADVENT has opened up some appointments for Morning Blend viewers to be seen this week, in fact. Just mention the Morning Blend when you call or chat with their team through the website.
It's ADVENTknows.com online, most insurances are accepted, no referrals required, and they have Milwaukee area locations that include Wauwatosa, Mequon, Oconomowoc, Oak Creek and Pleasant Prairie. There are also offices in Appleton and Illinois.