Sinus infections are common, and most cases can be easily treated with antibiotics. But when they persist for three months or longer despite treatment, they are considered chronic, and a physician may recommend surgery to treat symptoms and prevent future infections. One sinus procedure that has become increasingly popular is Balloon Sinuplasty.
What Is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Balloon Sinuplasty is a type of endoscopic nasal surgery wherein small balloon catheters are inflated in order to drain the sinuses. The procedure was approved by the FDA in 2005 and is considered an extremely safe and effective alternative to other sinus procedures. For these reasons, Balloon Sinuplasty is being recognized and covered by insurance companies more and more often.
How Is Balloon Sinuplasty Performed?
Balloon Sinuplasty may be performed under local or general anesthesia in an office, outpatient clinic or hospital by an ear, nose, throat (ENT) physician. Once you’re under anesthesia, the doctor inserts an endoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end, into the nasal passages.
Once they reach the sinus, the doctor will then advance a small balloon catheter inside. The balloon is slowly inflated, then the sinuses and nasal passages are flushed with saline rinse to clear blockages. When the balloon is removed, the sinus is able to more easily drain naturally.
The procedure typically takes less than one hour.
What Makes Balloon Sinuplasty Safe?
Balloon Sinuplasty is associated with high rates of success and low risk of complications. Benefits over traditional sinus surgeries include:
- Lower risk of bleeding
- Shorter office stay
- Faster recovery time
- No removal of tissue, bones or cartilage
- Fewer post-op appointments
- Reduced need for anesthesia and pain medications
- Reduced risk of post-op infection
- Reduced risk of tissue or structure damage
- Reduces risk of scarring and inflammation
Are there Side Effects for Balloon Sinuplasty?
As with all medical procedures, there are risks of side effects. With Balloon Sinuplasty, these are usually mild and include:
- Bleeding and drainage for a few days post-op
- Tenderness in the nose, cheeks and forehead
- Minor swelling in nasal cavities and sinuses
More severe side effects are rare.
For more information about Balloon Sinuplasty, contact the experts at Charleston ENT & Allergy today.