What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

Sinusitis affects 37 million Americans annually and although medications may help the majority of people, there are still many that require additional procedures for relief of their symptoms.

Often referred to as “angioplasty for the nose,” balloon sinuplasty is an innovative procedure used for the treatment of chronic sinusitis.

An endoscopic procedure performed under general anesthesia in an outpatient setting, balloon sinuplasty does not require incisions and cutting or the removal of bone and tissue. There is generally less pain, risk of infection, blood loss, bruising and swelling and many patients are often able to return to their normal activities in less time than they would from traditional “open” sinus surgery.

Benefits of balloon sinuplasty:

Although there are risks associated with any surgery, balloon sinuplasty has been shown to be clinically safe and effective. Some benefits include:

  • Since the device is inserted gently into the nostrils, there is no cutting or incisions (minimally invasive). Therefore, the procedure generally results in less pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling and risk of infection
  • Balloon sinuplasty typically involves no tissue or bone removal, often resulting in less bleeding. Nasal packing may not be needed
  • While recovery times may vary, most patients are able to return to normal activities in less time than with traditional surgery

More about the benefits of balloon sinuplasty

Balloon Dilation vs. Traditional Surgery?

Balloon Sinuplasty is a much less invasive treatment option to relieve symptoms of chronic sinusitis than traditional sinus surgery. However, both treatments have their merits. Use the information below for a detailed comparison of the two procedures to help determine which is best for you.

Balloon sinuplasty may be particularly beneficial to patients that have had their sinus problems diagnosed early. For patients with chronic, long-lasting problems, the procedure may be effective for some, though not all, of their sinuses. Your surgeon will discuss with you whether or not you are a candidate for full or partial treatment using balloon sinuplasty, or may recommend traditional sinus surgery (FESS). Typically, patients with the following symptoms may benefit from the procedure:

  • Recurrent sinus infections that do not respond to medication
  • Headaches around the eyes
  • Chronic bad breath and/or foul taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Chronic nasal problems

Balloon Sinuplasty

For in-office balloon sinuplasty, a physician carefully places a very small medical balloon into key sinus structures and then inflates the balloon to expand and remodel sinus structure. Tissue and bone are not cut away or removed, but reshaped.

The long-term effectiveness of balloon sinuplasty has been confirmed in a growing body of clinical studies. Over 85% of patients saw significant improvements in their sinus symptoms. Ninety percent of patients would recommend the
procedure to a family or friend. Work and life productivity increased significantly.

For in-office balloon sinuplasty, a physician carefully places a very small medical balloon into key sinus structures and then inflates the balloon to expand and remodel sinus structure. Tissue and bone are not cut away or removed, but reshaped.

Traditional Sinus Surgery

In Traditional Sinus Surgery or FESS, tissue and bone are cut away by the physician using surgical cutting instruments. The sinus openings are expanded through the cutting away and removal of bone and tissue.

For Traditional FESS, a broad range of studies have demonstrated statistically significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life following surgery.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Yes. If you are an in-office balloon dilation candidate, your procedure can be performed while you are awake without the need for general anesthesia. A typical office balloon dilation procedure lasts forty-five minutes. Of course, balloon dilation may be performed in the operating room under general anesthesia for patients who elect to do so or are not in office medical candidates. Your physician will fully discuss these options with you.

Traditional Sinus Surgery

No. Traditional FESS is performed in an operating room under general anesthesia, with the patient fully asleep. Most patients are allowed to return home the same day.

Balloon Sinuplasty

1 to 2 days. A faster recovery is a key benefit of balloon dilation. Since anatomy is reshaped by a balloon and not removed, most patients are able to return to normal activity within 24-48 hours. There is less pain, swelling and typically no bleeding as compared to traditional sinus surgery.

Traditional Sinus Surgery

1-2 weeks. Recovery times for Traditional FESS vary, but typically see people a return to normal activities within nine to ten days following surgery. There can be a greater degree of post-op bleeding, swelling and patient discomfort during recovery.

Balloon Dilation

No. A follow-up procedure is rarely needed since anatomical structures are reshaped by a balloon without the necessity of cutting.

Traditional Sinus Surgery

Often. Since tissue is cut and removed in Traditional FSS, crusting can occur as the remaining tissue heals. To remove this crust and tissue remnants an ENT often must perform a nasal debridement one or more times in the weeks following the procedure, in additional to nasal packing.

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