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Approximately 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis annually. Most sinusitis is manageable with natural remedies and can end after a few days of taking medication. But severe cases, referred to as chronic sinusitis, are challenging to deal with, leading to a lack of energy and overwhelming discomfort.
Medications can fail, forcing your primary physician to refer you to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor for specialized treatment methods like surgery to clear your sinuses. Many people cringe at the sound of surgery. Luckily, there are new surgical procedures such as balloon sinuplasty that are less painful, do not involve any cuts, incisions, or removal of bones or tissues.
What is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Also known as “smart sinus,” balloon sinuplasty is an endoscopic, catheter-based surgery technique for treating chronic sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, sinus inflammation, and extreme nose blockages. It is relatively new, having developed from the angioplasty, and became FDA approved in 2005.
What Conditions Does Balloon Sinuplasty Treat?
Balloon sinuplasty mainly treats chronic sinusitis with a 94% success rate for children and 100% among adults, as several studies have shown. When antibiotics don’t work, balloon sinuplasty can also treat:
- Blocked nasal cavities
- Chronic nasal discomfort or issues
- Chronic sinuses infections, and
- Persistent mouth odor and bad taste.
While balloon sinuplasty is the ultimate solution to some of the mentioned problems, it is advisable to seek the advice of your ENT for informed recommendations.
What Is the Procedure for Balloon Sinuplasty?
Balloon sinuplasty is a safe and straightforward sinusitis surgery that does not necessitate any cuttings or incisions. Instead, your ENT puts you under general anesthesia and inserts a catheter with a tiny balloon attached at the end of your nostrils until it reaches the blocked sinuses’ passageways.
The ENT specialist then fills the balloon with air to expand, restructure, open, and widen the blocked sinuses passages while preserving the lining of your sinuses. A saline solution is then applied or sprayed into the sinuses to remove any mucus or pus. The balloon then gets deflated, and the catheter is withdrawn. Your sinuses are fully open, and you can breathe normally.
Recovery After a Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure
Everyone’s body reacts or recovers differently after medical procedures. But recovery from balloon sinuplasty is faster and more comfortable than other surgical procedures. Discharge can be a few hours after a successful balloon sinuplasty. You can even resume your daily routine or go back to work within 24-48 hours as you recover.
But there are a few side effects such as dizziness, exhaustion, mild blood drainage, tender or congested sinuses a week following the procedure. There is no need to worry since these effects wear out after a few days. In case you feel some irritation, discomfort, or mild inflammation in your sinus passageways, suitable over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can work to ease these conditions.
Say Goodbye to Chronic Sinusitis with Balloon Sinuplasty at Boise ENT
Chronic sinusitis is uncomfortable and frustrating. Boise ENT is home to highly qualified and experienced ENT specialist Don J Beasley, MD. Our entire team is here to ensure you get the best and most personalized care for your sinusitis. Contact Boise ENT for a consultation to learn if balloon sinuplasty surgery is recommended for your chronic sinusitis.
Is this procedure covered by insurance?
Yes. Idaho has excellent coverage for this minimally invasive procedure. Your doctor will get prior-authorization from your insurance carrier to verify your benefits. In many cases, patients can have this procedure done for as low as an office visit copay.
Does In-Office Balloon Sinuplasty hurt?
In the studies conducted using the Entellus balloon, the average pain score was 2.7. You will experience facial pressure and typically hear cracking sounds similar to and egg shell, which is normal. Should you experience pain at any time during the procedure, your doctor can adjust your anesthesia medication to maximize your comfort for a positive experience.
Will I be put to sleep?
No, general anesthesia is not administered. Patients will usually be given oral, topical and local medication as part of anesthesia protocol. You will be awake, similar to a dental procedure.
Do I need a ride to/from the office?
Yes. In most cases your doctor will prescribe an anxiolytic, such as Lorazepam, and an anti-nausea Phenergan. These are taken 1 hour before the procedure, so we recommend that you arrange transportation to/from the office and that you do not operate a vehicle during this time.
Does the balloon stay in?
No, once the balloon is in place it is dilated for a few seconds then deflated and removed. The “doorways” to your sinuses will be permanently remodeled and reshaped.
What are the most common post-op side effects?
Some patients may experience headache, nasal congestion, minimal blood/mucus drainage, and facial pain. This temporary and in most cases will resolve the day after the procedure.
How long will I miss work/school?
In most cases, patients can return to work/school the next day if not the same day. Your doctor will advise you of your limitations, if any.
How effective is the Balloon Sinus Dilation?
A recent study comparing Balloon Sinus Dilation to Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) showed that patients had similar outcomes. OSBD is not inferior to FESS. Patients recover quicker and require less debridement, which means less time missed from work/school.
How long will the results last?
There is now sufficient data showing long term efficiency and indefinite results (beyond three years). Your outcome will typically depend on the severity of your sinus disease. There is very low revision rate for this procedure (less than 10%).
Is any tissue removed?
No, there is no tissue removal when dilating your sinuses. Your doctor will discuss possible removal of tissue with you only if you have structures in your nose that will make it difficult for him/her to perform the procedure.
How long will this procedure take?
Total start to finish time is typically around 1 hour. The anesthesia protocol takes longer than the procedure itself. Usually about 30-45 minutes. The actual balloon procedure takes about 10 minutes.
Will this cure my sinus disease?
No, unfortunately, there is no cure for sinus disease. For maximized results you should stay in compliance with any allergy immunotherapy, nasal steroids, etc that your doctor may have you on. This procedure will decrease your chances of a sinus infection and improve your quality of life by relieving associated symptoms, therefore making reducing infections, rounds of antibiotics and missed time from work.