Balloon sinuplasty is a surgical procedure that utilizes a balloon catheter to widen the sinuses, bringing relief to individuals suffering from chronic sinusitis. This minimally invasive procedure is a safe and effective alternative to traditional sinus surgery, and a good option for those whose sinusitis does not respond to medical treatment.
How Balloon Sinuplasty is Performed
Chronic sinusitis brings misery to millions of Americans every year, plaguing them with bothersome symptoms like sore throat, congestion, sinus pain and pressure, loss of smell, headache, fever, and coughing. It can be a real challenge for some to find a treatment solution that works. Medications and other home remedies may offer temporary relief, but a long-lasting solution is the goal.
Those whose symptoms don’t respond to medications often turn to surgery. Traditional sinus surgery involves excision of bone and tissue, may be accompanied by pain and scarring, and requires a recovery period following the procedure. Balloon sinuplasty, in comparison, is minimally invasive, and carries little risk of side effects. Most patients are able to resume normal activities in a day or two.
Prior to the procedure – usually performed in a doctor’s office – the patient is given a local anesthetic. A balloon catheter is then inserted into the sinuses, where it is inflated. This expands the sinus opening and causes the walls of the sinus passages to widen, allowing fluids to drain more easily and enabling the patient to breathe normally. The nasal cavity is sprayed with saline to flush out mucus and other debris, and the catheter is removed. Most patients experience a marked reduction in symptoms.
Balloon sinuplasty is not for everybody. Your doctor will know best whether there are factors (e.g. nasal polyps) that would complicate the procedure.