Balloon Sinuplasty offers easier relief of severe sinus conditions
Do you suffer from acute or chronic sinus infections?
Did you know chronic sinusitis is the most common cause of missed work and decreased productivity in the U.S.? It’s true.
But of course that doesn’t take into account the frustration and suffering that accompanies multiple treatment failures. In the past, if frequent antibiotics, antihistamines and steroids didn’t provide long-term relief, endoscopic sinus surgery was your only advanced option.
But a new, less-invasive procedure is now available—and working wonders.
Balloon Sinuplasty is a short, in-office procedure that requires only light sedation. The benefits include:
- Immediate and lasting relief for acute sinus pressure
- Quick and mild recovery period less than 1 week
- A halt to chronic sinus infections
- Treatment of Eustachian tube dysfunction
- Return of smell and taste senses
- Easier breathing and gentler sleep
- Improved quality of life
If you or a loved one suffer from unresolved sinus problems, a simple balloon sinus dilation may provide the relief you deserve. To find out if the procedure can work for you, schedule an appointment now.
Dr. Ashford Explains Balloon Sinuplasty
What is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Balloon sinuplasty is a new, minimally invasive procedure that opens sinus passages.
Healthy nasal sinuses drain mucus through narrow passages to the throat where it is swallowed away. When these passages become inflamed as a result of illness or allergies, the mucus is blocked and infection can occur. This sometimes triggers a vicious cycle of increasing inflammation, blockage, infection and pressure.
Balloon sinuplasty is a short, in-office procedure (typically one hour) to dilate the inflamed passages and flush the infected sinus cavities. Most patients report that nasal breathing improves during the procedure and sinus and head pressure are immediately lessened.
Typically within 2-3 weeks of the procedure, the nose and sinuses are completely healed, and the cycle of sinus infection is interrupted.
Is balloon dilation painful?
Before beginning the procedure we numb the nasal cavity.
As with a trip to the dentist, the numbing process causes slight discomfort. But once the nasal cavity is numb, the balloon dilations don’t cause any pain or discomfort.
During the procedure patients often hear crackling or popping sounds as the sinus tracts open. The sounds are not accompanied with pain, thanks to the numbing, but sometimes a sensation of pressure is noticed. Patients are awake and alert the entire time and give constant feedback on how they feel.
The procedure lasts about one hour, and patients can go home shortly thereafter. Post-procedure pain is minimal. Ibuprofen or Motrin is typically sufficient to ease any lingering discomfort.
Light nosebleeds are common for 2-3 days after the procedure. Typically Afrin nose spray is the only necessary treatment during this period.
Within a few days patients are generally able to return to work without any restriction to their activities.
Why is Balloon Sinuplasty better than sinus surgery?
Until now, endoscopic sinus surgery has been the only option when medical treatment fails to cure sinus problems.
The surgery takes place in an operating room, and the patient remains under general anesthesia for up to 4 hours, while inflamed tissue is cut from the nose and sinuses.
Unlike Balloon Sinuplasty, endoscopic surgery results in:
- Longer recovery time—up to one month
- Post-surgery procedures to clean scabbing in the nasal cavity
- Heavier and more frequent nosebleeds
- Cauterization procedures, if severe nosebleeds develop
- Intense pain requiring narcotic pain medications
- Greater cost for the surgical procedure
- Surgical risks to the skull, spinal fluid and eye socket
Who can benefit from Balloon Sinuplasty?
Balloon Sinuplasty is an excellent option for patients suffering from recurring acute sinusitis infections or chronic sinusitus.
The symptoms accompanying recurring acute sinus infections include intense facial pain and sinus pressure, as well as purulent drainage from the front of the nose and a foul odor in the nose. These patients often experience six or more sinus infections every year and require antibiotics to get over every cold. They often miss significant amounts of work due to illness.
The symptoms of chronic sinusitis are similar, but more diverse. They include persistent facial pressure or pain, decreased senses of smell and taste, a foul odor in the nose, difficulty breathing through the nose, congested or stuffy nose, and thick postnasal drainage, which is oftentimes yellow or greenish.
Balloon sinuplasty also can be beneficial for patients with eustachian tube dysfunction.
The eustachian tubes are long, narrow tubes that connect to the ear and open up in the very back of the nose. The function of the eustachian tubes is to allow pressure behind the eardrum to remain constant. The eustachian tubes are normally closed but open with swallowing or yawning. The opening is very small, so even a little inflammation or swelling can cause the tubes not to open up with swallowing or yawning.
Eustachian tube dysfunction is a common result of chronic sinusitis. Symptoms include ear popping, ear pressure and pain, occasionally ear infections, tinnitus, hearing loss, and fullness and discomfort in the ears.
While performing balloon sinuplasty on the frontal, maxillary and sphenoid sinuses, the procedure can also be done to dilate the eustachian tubes. Symptoms often clear up immediately, with sustained results.
Can Balloon Sinuplasty help me?
It’s remarkable how this new procedure is completely changing the treatment for acute and chronic sinus conditions.
We’ve been thrilled to find how easily patients tolerate comprehensive—and even aggressive—treatment of obstructed sinuses with balloon dilations. But more importantly, the low-risk and quick recovery time makes balloon dilation a logical step before considering surgery.
There are, however, some situations where a patient’s sinus condition prevents balloon sinuplasty. These situations include:
- Severe fungal sinusitis that fills the sinuses with thick fungal material
- Diffuse and large nasal polyps that block off the nose
- Severely deviated nasal septum that obstructs balloon access
But in short, balloon sinuplasty is a preferred treatment option for most patients. To find out if it is appropriate for you, or a loved one, please schedule an appointment.