Balloon Sinuplasty is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure used by otolaryngologists to treat chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of the nasal sinuses. When they are inflamed, the sinus cavities become a breeding ground for viruses, bacteria, and sometimes fungi to grow, resulting in a sinus infection. If it becomes chronic or recurrent, it may be due to structural problems in the nose or sinuses or the patient with sinusitis is not responding to medications, a balloon sinuplasty may be recommended.
Essentially, balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure during which a thin balloon over a wire catheter is inserted into the nose. The balloon is gradually inflated in order to relieve blockages and widen the sinus passageways. This expanding of the sinus opening by balloon sinuplasty is supposed to result in a permanent change to the size of the sinus opening. The goal of a balloon sinuplasty is to enlarge the opening of the sinuses, reduce blockage and restore normal sinus drainage.
Unlike traditional sinus surgery, balloon sinuplasty does not require incisions or cut, or any removal of bone or tissue, although, in some cases, it may be used together with traditional surgery. Balloon sinuplasty has many advantages over traditional surgeries. These include an absence of surgical cuts, no damage is done to surrounding tissue, lack of serious complications, shorter recovery time and reduced bleeding.
Although balloon sinuplasty is an effective treatment for relieving many sinus problems and has no reported risks, it is not suitable for everyone. Balloon sinuplasty cannot be performed on patients who have extensive scarring of the sinuses, ethmoid sinusitis or nasal polyps (growths in the nasal sinuses.
Balloon sinuplasty is performed under local anesthesia in a hospital as outpatient surgery.
The surgeon inserts a catheter through the nostril and near the sinus opening under endoscopic visualization. A flexible wire is then inserted into the targeted sinus to confirm access. This guide wire may have a small torch on the tip which produces a light transmission that is visible through the skin that helps the surgeon sight the exact placement of the guide wire. Once the physician gains access to the sinus that is blocked, a balloon catheter is placed over the guide wire and in the blocked sinus opening for inflation. The balloon is then inflated. If the surgery is successful, even after the balloon has been deflated and removed, the sinus will remain open and the bone surrounding the sinus is restructured.
Patients may experience a bloody discharge for a few days after the surgery. They may also experience pain and sinus pressure which can be relieved pain killers such as acetaminophen. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided because they may cause bleeding. Nasal congestion is also commonly experienced. Nasal passages and breathing is expected to return to normal 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.
Since balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure, the risks are minimal and but may include normal surgical risks such as bleeding, infection or swelling. Many patients experience relief from the symptoms of sinusitis, soon after a balloon sinuplasty procedure. Most people enjoy this state of health (free of sinusitis) for at least two years after their surgery.