Cutting Edge: Procedure brings relief for Asthma patients

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Markel Williams is a new man these days. He's had lifelong asthma, and has had to take several medications daily.

"I took a lot of pills, three different inhalers and a nebulizer. You could be fine one day and then crash for two or three days."

He's now a changed man, after he underwent a newly approved procedure called Bronchial Thermoplasty.

"Ever since then I've been moving more air, haven't had any more asthma problems. Basically I'm moving more air and doing everything more freely now," Williams says.

Dr. Dennis Parker from Integris Pulmonary Services in Oklahoma City, performed the procedure. He said the science is simple

"It was noted in animal studies that if you treated those smooth muscles with heat, low doses of heat, it affected their ability to contract," Dr. Parker says.

Parker said Thermoplasty is done in three different procedure about three weeks apart. There is no incision required.

"We're going down into the patient's lungs with a bronchoscope. We are passing a little fiber out that uses radiofrequency energy and gently cooks the smooth muscles," Dr. Parker explains.

Right now it's only used for extreme asthma, but Parker said that could change.

"Eventually it may be where we use it on milder patients, but it is not approved by the FDA for that population."

It is also not approved for children as of yet.

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