Thirty-seven million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis, but there is hope at Sinus Solutions at Gwinnett Medical Center. People suffering from chronic sinusitis can breathe easier thanks to a minimally-invasive treatment option called Balloon Sinuplasty.
How Balloon Sinuplasty Works
Developed by a cardiologist, Balloon Sinuplasty is similar to an angioplasty and is designed to open blocked sinuses and provide sinus relief without painful tissue or bone removal. It is commonly used as a sinus infection remedy for people who suffer from chronic sinus infections.
With the patient under general anesthesia, a specially trained otolaryngologist— using a rigid telescope in the nasal cavity for magnified visualization—inserts a lighted fiber-optic guide wire catheter equipped with a tiny deflated balloon built into it, through the nostril and blocked sinus ostium.
The balloon is then inflated, opening and widening the sinus passageway, restoring normal sinus drainage, aeration and function. The sinus cavity can then be rinsed and antibiotics inserted, if needed. Sometimes Balloon Sinuplasty is performed on some sinuses while functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is performed on other sinuses simultaneously.
Balloon Sinuplasty is usually performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. Under special circumstances, some Balloon Sinuplasty procedures may be performed in your physician’s office. No incisions or cutting are required. No bone or tissue is removed. Generally patients experience less pain, lower risk of infection, less blood loss, and less chance of bruising and swelling than with non-endoscopic, “conventional” sinus surgery. Many patients are able to return to their normal activities faster, too.
Candidates for Balloon Sinuplasty
Typically, patients with the following symptoms may benefit from Balloon Sinuplasty:
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Chronic nasal problems
- Headaches around the eyes
- Recurrent sinus infections that do not respond to medication
- Chronic bad breath and/or foul taste in the mouth due to sinus problems or disease
Balloon Sinuplasty may be especially beneficial to patients whose sinus problems have been diagnosed early. For patients with chronic, long-lasting problems, Balloon Sinuplasty may be effective for some of their sinuses. Your physician will review your sinus CT scan images with you in detail to help you understand your sinus condition and discuss whether you are a candidate for full or partial treatment using Balloon Sinuplasty.
Benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty
Although there are risks associated with any surgery, Balloon Sinuplasty has been shown to be clinically safe and effective. Some of Balloon Sinuplasty’s key benefits include:
- It is minimally invasive, with no cutting or incisions.
- Generally the patient experiences less pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling and risk of infection.
- Because it usually involves no tissue or bone removal, this typically results in less bleeding.
- While recovery times from Balloon Sinuplasty vary, most patients are able to return to normal activities quickly.
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Weiss, Raymond L., et al. “Long-term outcome analysis of balloon catheter sinusotomy: Two-year follow up.” American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation 2008: 139: S38–S46.
Levine, Howard L., et al. “Multicenter Registry of Balloon Catheter Sinusotomy Outcomes for 1,036 Patients.” Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology. 2008: 117(4): 263-270.