Photo by Tim Marshall
Do you struggle with frequent sinus problems? You aren’t alone.
The World Allergy Organization states that this is among the most commonly diagnosed disease in the world. They also state that 12% of Americans experience problems associated with rhinosinusitis (sinus swelling).
Rhinosinusitis causes a decreased quality of life, increased medical expenses, and missed days from work and school. Specialists now offer balloon sinuplasty procedures that have shown to resolve these issues. Continue reading to learn about this procedure that could change your life.
HOW CAN BALLOON SINUPLASTY BENEFIT YOU?
The cranial (head) sinuses, located behind your nose, cheeks, and forehead, are cave-like structures in the skull. They’re filled with air and help to control the moisture. The sinuses present an easy target for infection which causes swelling.
If you have problems with nasal obstruction or sinusitis (swelling), balloon sinuplasty may resolve these issues. This procedure treats patients with severe sinusitis and blockages in the nose. It’s a modified version of the angioplasty that uses a balloon catheter to enlarge clogged blood vessels near the heart.
Balloon sinuplasty received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2005. It’s rated as extremely effective for decreasing symptoms of rhinosinusitis. As this procedure becomes more common, medical insurance coverage is increasing.
This procedure opens the nasal sinuses and maintains the normal tissue and mucous membrane structure. Balloon sinuplasty has proven safe, effective, and minimally invasive. One study published in 2015 found that patients showed significant improvement after surgery.
WHAT DOES AN IN-OFFICE BALLOON SINUPLASTY INVOLVE?
The balloon sinuplasty is performed in the surgeon’s office. The procedure takes about one hour while you lie comfortably in an exam chair or on a bed. After you arrive, they will spray a decongestant and local anesthetic in your nose to numb it.
More anesthetic is then applied with gauze or a pledget (a small cotton pad). After your nose is numb, the surgeon removes the gauze or pledget. They will then inject another anesthetic so that your nose is completely numb.
The procedure will begin about 30 minutes later.
The surgeon gently slides a thin instrument with the deflated balloon through your nose and into your sinus. The balloon is then slowly inflated with saline for 5 seconds and then deflated.
You can expect to feel firm pressure during these 5 seconds. You may also hear crackling sounds. The surgeon may reposition and inflate/deflate the balloon again. Once your sinus is opened, your doctor will remove the instrument.
If needed, this process is repeated on the other side. Once you feel ready, you may return home. It’s common to feel discomfort, swelling, congestion, and have some bloody discharge for several days.
Your doctor may advise you to take over-the-counter medication for pain. Ice packs are also helpful to decrease pain and swelling. Most patients can return to normal activity in one to two days.
ARE YOU HAVING EAR, NOSE, THROAT, OR HEAD PROBLEMS?
If you struggle with ongoing sinus problems, this can have a big impact on your daily life. Balloon sinuplasty may provide the answer you need.
Dr. Brian Weeks completed his MD in 1996. He went on to receive training in Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery and Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery. Dr. Weeks provides expert care for diseases of the ear, nose, and throat.
Dr. Weeks is a pioneer in the field of Minimally Invasive Head and Neck Surgery, and he has helped develop many of these techniques in the field of ENT. He’s a renowned national and international leader in balloon sinuplasty surgery, and continues to work to innovate in new technologies and improvements in office nasal procedures.
Contact our office today to ask questions and schedule an appointment.