Everyone loves to enjoy the simple things in life, like smelling the roses or taking in a breath of fresh mountain air. Still, these scenarios may often be far from reality for those who suffer from chronic nasal and sinus conditions. Although chronic nasal conditions can cause a decreased quality of life in many patients, there’s new hope for sufferers with a procedure known as a balloon sinuplasty.
What is a Balloon Sinuplasty?
A balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that requires specialized equipment to expand the sinus openings in patients to alleviate symptoms caused by chronic sinus pain and pressure. During the procedure, a small, flexible wire is fed through the nasal passage and into the interior portion of the sinus cavities. Once the doctor has fed the wire to the point of the affected area, a small silicone catheter is fed over the wire. This catheter has a small balloon on the tip that gently inflates using air or sterile saline. As the balloon is inflated, small bones within the sinus are gently repositioned to allow for enlargement of the sinus openings, which results in increased airflow and alleviation of sinus issues such as pain, pressure, and nasal discharge.
Is Balloon Sinuplasty an Effective Treatment for Chronic Nasal Conditions?
Balloon sinuplasty was first approved by the FDA in 2005, and although the procedure is fairly new, it has yielded a number of positive results since its inception. Although individual results may vary for patients undergoing balloon sinuplasty, the procedure has an overall success rate of 94% in most patients, with positive effects noted immediately following the procedure and remaining up to one year after.
Who Would Benefit from a Balloon Sinuplasty?
Most patients undergoing a balloon sinuplasty are long-term sufferers of chronic nasal inflammatory conditions such as chronic rhinitis or sinus infections that have been unresponsive to traditional treatments, including nasal sprays, antibiotics, or over-the-counter medications. Although this procedure can benefit certain patients, a thorough physical exam is required before the procedure to rule out any underlying causes of chronic nasal congestion.
Complications of Balloon Sinuplasty
Although rare, some patients may experience complications, including excessive pain, bleeding, bruising, injury to the eye or brain, and need for revision or more extensive surgery.
Recovering from Balloon Sinuplasty
Balloon sinuplasty is usually performed in the office under local anesthesia or oral sedation. The outpatient procedure usually takes an hours, requiring minimal recovery time. Although nasal congestion can occur up to 3-5 days after the procedure, the average recovery time after a balloon sinuplasty is typically just 24 hours. Patients return to normal daily activity shortly after the procedure.