Balloon sinuplasty is an FDA-approved, advanced treatment option for relieving the symptoms of chronic sinusitis.
It is successful in an overwhelming percentage of patients, and is considered a safe and effective treatment.
Reasons for Balloon Sinuplasty
Chronic sinusitis, an extremely common ailment, affects millions of people each year. Because the sinuses are hollows behind the bones of the upper face, they may become blocked by mucus, which may be a result of allergy or respiratory illness. Once they become blocked, it is easy for them to become infected. Sinusitis may be temporary and can be treated successfully with antibiotics, decongestants or steroid nasal sprays. If it becomes chronic, however, there may be a structural problem in the nose or sinuses. In those cases, a balloon sinuplasty may be recommended.
The symptoms of sinusitis are uncomfortable and unpleasant, interfering with a patient’s quality of life. Symptoms of sinusitis may include:
- Thick, perpetual nasal secretion
- Tooth pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Discharge of green or yellow mucus
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Pain, pressure and congestion in the upper face
Balloon sinuplasty is a safe, efficient, effective and, usually, long-lasting means of clearing the sinuses and restoring a patient’s health and well-being.
Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure
A balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure during which a thin balloon catheter is inserted into the nose. The balloon is gradually inflated to relieve blockages and widen the sinus pathways. A sinus-illumination system with laser-tipped guides keeps the area well-lit so that the surgeon can see the site accurately.
By gently reconfiguring the structure of the bones in the nose, the catheter restores normal sinus drainage, and keeps post-operative pain and bleeding to a minimum. After the opening of the affected sinus is cleared, the balloon is deflated and removed, but the sinus remains open. Another catheter, called an irrigation catheter, is then inserted to cleanse the sinus with a saline solution.
A balloon sinuplasty may be performed in a hospital, ambulatory-surgery setting or doctor’s office. Usually, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia but, in some cases, may be performed under local anesthetic. Typically, the procedure takes about 3 hours, which includes recovery time, and patients can return home shortly thereafter. Although balloon sinuplasty is a relatively new procedure, it has a very high rate of success. The great majority of patients experience relief from their symptoms soon after surgery. So far, studies show that most patients report continued sinus health for up to 2 years after the procedure.
Benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty
Unlike traditional sinus surgery, balloon sinuplasty does not require incisions, or any removal of bone or tissue, although, in certain cases, it may be used in conjunction with traditional surgery. Balloon sinuplasty has many advantages over traditional procedures. Its benefits may include:
- Absence of surgical incisions
- Lack of serious complications
- Shorter recovery time
- Reduced bleeding
Although balloon sinuplasty is an effective treatment for relieving many sinus problems and has no reported serious complications, it is not appropriate for everyone. Balloon sinuplasty cannot be performed on patients who have extensive scarring of the sinuses, ethmoid sinusitis or nasal polyps.