Virtually everyone experiences blocked sinuses on an occasional basis, usually during a common cold or other respiratory infection. Some people, however, have chronic conditions that lead to more frequent sinus blockages and aren’t remedied by conservative treatments that typically prove effective.
Traditional open sinus surgery can be painful and require long recovery times. However, many people suffering from chronically blocked sinuses can benefit from minimally invasive balloon sinuplasty. Also called balloon catheter dilation, the technique was approved in 2005 and has been clearing up blockages and breathing difficulties ever since.
The balloon sinuplasty procedure
Instead of open surgery, which requires external incisions, balloon sinuplasty is endoscopic and there’s no need to remove bone or nasal tissue, and there are typically no incisions made during the procedure. Performed under general anesthesia, your Lakeshore Ear, Nose & Throat Center surgeon guides a wire catheter into the blocked sinus passages.
Flushing out accumulated pus and mucus is typically done first, then a balloon on the catheter is inflated inside the sinus. This balloon gently opens and widens the sinus, permitting effective natural drainage and a return to normal sinus function.
The advantages of balloon sinuplasty
There are risks present during any surgical procedure. Balloon sinuplasty, however, presents a safer way to restore sinus function for many patients. The principal advantages of this surgical method are:
Since access to the blocked sinuses is through the nostril, there’s no need to cut tissue away to allow surgical access. This reduces the risk of infection, bleeding, bruising, and inflammation.
No bone or tissue removal
Along with no surgical incisions, the treatment itself is conservative, without the need to cut away parts of the sinus passages. This usually removes the need for nasal packing.
Short recovery time
You may require as little as a single day of rest before you return to your normal activities, and unless the balloon sinuplasty is accompanied by cosmetic nose surgery, you typically don’t have black eyes or bruising while you recover.
The best candidates for balloon sinuplasty
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with sinus issues, and your condition is relatively new, you’re likely an excellent candidate for the balloon sinuplasty procedure. As with many medical conditions, early diagnosis improves the chances for permanently correcting a sinus issue.
Patients with certain symptoms are typically good candidates for balloon sinuplasty. These symptoms include:
- Four or more sinus infections in the past 12 months
- Recurrent sinus infections that don’t respond to medication
- Chronic nasal blockages, nasal mucus discharge
- Frequent sinus headaches, pain around your eyes
- Difficulties breathing through your nose
- Changes in your sense of smell
- Coughing and/or throat irritation
- Blocked or full feeling in your ears, inner ear dizziness
- Chronic bad breath/bad taste in your mouth
- Sleep disruptions and/or chronic fatigue
In some cases, patients with long-standing chronic sinus issues or problems caused by polyps or a deviated septum may not be suitable for the balloon sinuplasty procedure. A combination of surgical treatments may be necessary to correct some sinus issues.
The only way to know for certain that a balloon sinuplasty is the right procedure for you is through a comprehensive examination by an expert at Lakeshore Ear, Nose & Throat Center. Call or click today to arrange a consultation.