Many people have never heard of balloon sinuplasty. However, millions of people suffer from the very condition that this procedure can treat.
Sinusitis is a common condition that involves chronic inflammation and infection of the sinuses. This can lead to a wide variety of symptoms like headaches, face pain, sneezing, and pressure in the face and nose. Those with chronic sinusitis find themselves depending on over-the-counter medications, steroids, and antibiotics to treat the condition. However, this is only a temporary fix, and in most cases, sinusitis will come back again and again.
The Old Method
It used to be that the only option that patients had in order to be permanently rid of their sinus condition would be invasive surgery. The surgeon would need to directly access the sinus area and would have to remove both tissue and bone. The result is possible scarring, pain, blood loss and chance of infection. It is a procedure that requires a longer recovery time and is not always successful.
A newer, minimally invasive option called balloon sinuplasty, uses a small catheter to place a balloon in the sinus cavity to then expand the area for a permanent fix.
Because so many people have never heard of balloon sinuplasty, they may have numerous questions about the procedure. Below are the three most common questions about this procedure and what it will mean for the patient.
How Do Doctors Perform Balloon Sinuplasty?
This method uses a balloon. A catheter is threaded through the nose to the sinus cavities. Then a very small balloon is slowly inflated to expand and unblock the sinus cavity. The procedure takes about an hour to finish and does not involve any incisions, blood loss, or damage to the skin and tissue.
Is Balloon Sinuplasty a Permanent Fix?
Generally, the reason for chronic sinusitis is the bone and tissue surrounding the sinus cavity. If this tissue is encroaching, the cavity could be blocked, making it extremely difficult to stay clear.
During this procedure, the balloon is slowly inflated. The result is a gradual, and non-damaging, moving and repositioning of that tissue and bone. This allows the surrounding tissue to be permanently moved. Unlike medications that just treat the symptoms, balloon sinuplasty permanently solves the problem that caused the condition.
Can Any Physician Perform the Procedure?
No. Surgeons who specialize in the ear, nose and throat (ENT) must undergo further training. This treatment is not available from standard physicians and not all ENTs are trained. Since it is a new treatment, it requires extensive training and certification first.