Breathing Easy with Specialist Dr. Farhad Sigari

Dr. Farhad Sigari, a top rated, board certified otolaryngologist, helps people with issues of the ears, nose and throat, including allergies and sinus ailments. Since opening his flag ship surgery center in Marina Del Rey, his treatment philosophy has focused on making a positive impact on his patients’ quality of life. His long list of clients includes celebrities and professional athletes but his minimally invasive surgical interventions have helped improve the daily lives of everyone, whether at-home or traveling. Dr. Sigari's quick and easy solutions and procedures have helped people breathe easier, hear better, sleep more soundly and overall live a better life.

You’re a board certified Otolaryngologist, what made you chose that particular field of medicine?

What attracts me most to my field is that often, through the interventions at my disposal, I can make a real impact on a patient's quality of life. I can help someone breathe better, hear better, sleep better, look better and overall live a better life. Using surgical skills to achieve such goals for patients is very rewarding and I am lucky to be in this field of medicine.

How have you seen the field change?

 It has been a pleasure to be a part of this field. The most notable change is the push for the advancement of minimally invasive interventions and philosophy towards head and neck disorders. Surgeons are often able to find less invasive solutions, which ultimately translates to better care. It is exciting to be a part of it.

How would you say your overall approach differs from other physicians in your field? 

Having a background in Biomedical Engineering gives me a unique perspective on the pathophysiology of head and neck disorders.  I enjoy championing the minimally invasive philosophies. This philosophy allows me to look for and offer treatments to my patients, which minimizes the impact of the treatment I provide while maximizing results.

What types of procedures are minimally invasive that can be done in office with little or no downtime?

There are a wide of variety of in-office procedures that I provide my patients. One of the newest is in-office balloon dilation of the sinuses. With this procedure we can often provide an intervention that is often as good as traditional surgery but with no need for general anesthesia and sometimes in as little as 20 minutes.

Pollution and artificial ingredients always seem to me on the rise.  With that in mind, do you find that patient's complaints or symptoms are intensifying?

Definitely, I see more and more patients with worsening complaints, not only for those who are predisposed to having difficulty (i.e. asthma sufferers) but also for the average person,

Are there any common allergens in the home that affect many people?

The common allergens patients have trouble with in the home include dust, pets, and feathers (bedding). But also depending on their home surroundings they can also be significantly affected by trees, grasses and even mold!

How does a person know if he or she is suffering with allergies or sinusitis?

That is a great question. I find that sometimes it is hard for patients to tell the difference. I have had many patients who contribute their symptoms to allergies when in fact they were suffering from a chronic sinus infection. The most important step for those patients is to receive the proper diagnoses from their specialist.

How can a person treat or prevent allergies when travelling?

I always recommend a combination of a nasal steroid spray (Nasacort and Flonase are now available over the counter), an oral anti-histamine (Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec etc.), and one of the most simple and effective methods is the use of a sinus rinse (i.e. netti pot).

How do you determine when surgery or drug therapy is the most effective treatment?

I always make sure that the patients have tried the appropriate medical therapy first before recommending a surgery or procedure. However, often my patients come to me who really are at the end of the road for how much medicine can help them. They are motivated to take the next step and proceed with a procedure/surgery. It all depends on how bad their symptoms are and what they have tried in the past.

How does balloon sinuplasty differ from traditional sinus surgery? 

Balloon sinuplasty is a great minimally invasive intervention for those who suffer from chronic or recurrent sinus infections. It allows me to deliver an effective treatment with less damage to the normal anatomy. This in turn allows for less risk during surgery, faster recovery, and even the ability to avoid general anesthesia (and often we are able to perform this under local anesthesia).

You perform a procedure called painless tonsillectomy.   How does that differ from a traditional tonsillectomy?

I perform a tissue welding tonsillectomy which some of my patients have termed “painless.” Although it still involves some pain, my patients often enjoy less pain and faster recovery than traditional tonsil removal surgeries. It has become very popular with my patients and often we have patients who travel from out of state to have the procedure with us.

Can you tell me one of your greatest life-changing success stories?

I have been fortunate enough to deliver life-changing care to many patients in my career. The greatest life-changing success story is of a surgery I was able to provide during a medical mission. It regarded a 13 year old girl who had a severe disfiguring cleft lip deformity and had traveled 3 days by foot to be seen by us while we were visiting Cajamarca, Peru. She had previously been told that there is no help for her condition but she and her father decided to take one more chance at finding a cure. Luckily she was a perfect candidate and after a 2 hour surgery. She was able to transform into a very pretty and normal looking 13-year girl. Her father cried and let us know that he was grateful because now his daughter had a chance of a normal life.

Tell me a bit about your surgical philanthropic work.

Since 2004 I have been a part of Medical Missions for Children (mmfc.org),which is an all-volunteer group of physicians and nurses who travel to impoverished countries to provide free surgical care for children with cleft lip and cleft palate deformities. I currently serve as the lead surgeon for 2-3 trips a year servicing the countries of India and Peru. During a one-week trip we often screen/evaluate over 100 patients and perform roughly 20-25 surgeries per surgeon. It is truly amazing to be able to provide such life changing care and I am very proud of the work that MMFC.org does every year.  

I know you can't name names, but you have treated athletes and celebrities. Can you tell me about those stories and results?

I have had the pleasure of taking care of top athletes, performers, and media personalities. The most recent story is of a well-known actor who had trouble with his sinuses and difficulty breathing through his nose. He felt that he could not function or perform to the best of his ability. It turns out his problem was worse than he thought and actually very severe. However, we were able to provide him relief with a minimally invasive procedure just in time for him to get back to his shooting schedule for a high intensity action movie. He later gave me updates while he was on the set stating that the surgery worked great!

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Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

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