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Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon Sinuplasty is a type of endoscopic nasal surgery. It uses small balloon catheters that inflate to drain the large nasal sinuses.

It is typically used to treat cases of severe rhinosinusitis or sinus inflammation and blockage in the nose. This procedure was adapted from angioplasty, where balloon catheters are used to dilate damaged or congested blood vessels near the heart.

What is a Balloon Sinuplasty?

The procedure is minimally invasive, involves no cutting or loss of nasal tissues or bone, and has a very short recovery time.

As a result, balloon sinuplasty is quickly becoming the surgery of choice for chronic or severe sinusitis that does not respond to other medical therapies, such as nasal decongestant medications and rinses, antibiotics, and nasal or oral corticosteroids.

How does it work?

Balloon Sinuplasty works by dilating the openings of some or all three of the major nasal sinuses. This enables them to be cleared and drained.

Most people who need the surgery have a condition that leads to the sinus membranes becoming inflamed, preventing drainage of mucus, pus, and discharge that cause congestion.

Over time, blocked and inflamed nasal passages can interfere with breathing, and lead to symptoms such as headache, jaw ache, and insomnia.

Balloon sinuplasty allows providers to forcibly widen blocked nasal passages and flush out or remove congestion, often using a saline solution.

Does the procedure hurt?

Depending on individual factors and preferences, balloon sinuplasties are done by an ENT doctor in their office, an outpatient clinic, or a hospital.

The procedure may be done using general or local anesthesia. After administering either form of anesthesia, your provider inserts and endoscope, a thin, flexible, plastic tube with a camera and light on the end, into the nasal passages.

Once the entrance to the cavity is reached, the provider will slowly advance a small balloon catheter over the guiding endoscope wire.

When the balloon catheter is correctly positioned inside the nasal passage and cavity, it will be slowly inflated and pressed against the sinus walls, to fracture the bone slightly and force an opening.

Once the balloon is fully inflated, the provider will flush out the passageways and cavities with a saline rinse to further remove debris. Finally, the balloon is removed and the sinus is left to continue to drain naturally.

Most people who undergo balloon sinuplasty report feelings of sinus pressure or numbness only during the surgery, not noticeable pain. Most procedures take around 1 hour to perform.

Recovery time for this procedure can range between 24 to 48 hours. The sinuplasty tends to cause grogginess, tiredness, tenderness, congestion, and bloody drainage in the week following surgery. Your provider may advice against blowing your nose for 1 to 2 days immediately after the surgery.

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