Sinusitis is the most common chronic condition in the U.S.
It is characterized by persistent cold-like symptoms including sore throat, congestion, facial pain and pressure, coughing, headache, fever and loss of smell. Patients who do not find relief from medications often undergo surgery to correct the problem. However, traditional endoscopic sinus surgery doesn’t always bring the desired results. A minimally-invasive alternative for many patients is balloon sinuplasty.
What is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Endoscopic sinus surgery, the standard surgical procedure for chronic sinusitis for many years, involves cutting and removing bone and tissue in the nasal cavities. In addition to the pain and scarring it may cause, the procedure isn’t always effective; often, multiple surgeries are needed.
Balloon sinuplasty, by comparison, is a minimally invasive procedure that involves no cutting or excision. Performed as an outpatient procedure, the patient is given a general anesthetic and a wire catheter with an attached balloon is inserted into the blocked sinus cavity through the nostril, where it is inflated. This widens the sinus cavity, providing more airflow and enabling the patient to breathe more easily.
Benefits and Effectiveness of Balloon Sinuplasty
Balloon sinuplasty offers many benefits over traditional endoscopic sinus surgery. As mentioned previously, it leaves bone and tissue intact, eliminating many of the unpleasant side effects and complications associated with the conventional procedure. There is less pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling and scarring; a smaller chance of infection; and a much quicker recovery period. Most patients can resume normal activities after 24 hours.
Approved by the FDA, balloon sinuplasty effectively reduces or eliminates chronic sinusitis symptoms in approximately 95 percent of patients undergoing the procedure. It is reserved for patients with nasal obstructions whose symptoms do not improve with medical treatment.