Balloon Sinuplasty is a type of endoscopic nasal surgery, which uses small balloon catheters that inflate in order to drain the large nasal sinuses. Also commonly known as the ‘smart sinus’ procedure, the balloon sinuplasty is often recommended for people with chronic sinusitis, when all other treatments for their condition prove to be ineffective.
The procedure is straightforward with minimal complications, and there’s no cutting or removal of any bones or tissue. It still carries a few risks, which includes the same types of risks that other sinus surgeries do.
This procedure has been adapted from angioplasty, where balloon catheters are used for diluting damaged or congested blood vessels near one’s heart.
Balloon sinuplasty is a treatment for patients with sinus problems. If a patient had his problems diagnosed early, this procedure is more beneficial for them. However, for patients with chronic and long-lasting problems, the procedure may not be effective.
You should discuss with your doctor whether you are a candidate or not, for this procedure. Typically, patients having the following symptoms can benefit from this procedure.
- Recurrent sinus infections that show no response to the medication
- Chronic bad breath or foul taste in one’s mouth
- Headaches around the eyes
- Difficulty while breathing through the nose
- Chronic nasal problems
Balloon sinuplasty can be performed in a hospital or in the office of an ENT specialist. It can be performed under local or general anesthesia. You will need to discuss with your doctor regarding the anesthesia plan prior to your surgery.
During the procedure, first, your doctor will insert a small flashlight at the end of a wire into your sinus cavity, so that he/she can see clearly. After this, they will be inserting a very slim and flexible balloon catheter into your sinus passages. Next, the balloon is slowly inflated for expanding the sinus opening.
Your doctor will be flushing out built-up pus and mucus in the sinus cavity using a saline solution. You will be feeling a decrease in pressure when this happens. While the balloon is in your sinus passage, it will gently restructure the bones around the sinuses. After this process is complete, your doctor will be removing the balloon. This will leave your sinus passage widened and the sinus will be free of any built-up pressure.
After the procedure, most people are able to return to their normal routine within a day or two. Some people can even drive themselves home from the procedure.
In the week after the surgery, you will see some bloody drainage or discharge coming from your nose. This is no reason to worry as it is normal after any sinus surgery.
You might experience swelling as well as some fatigue and congestion. All of this can be expected after any sinus surgery. However, within a week, you should feel better and be free from any such symptoms.
After the surgery, your doctor will be instructing you not to blow your nose at all for around 24 hours. You need to avoid any kind of strenuous activity as well as it might elevate your heart rate for the first week. Sleep with your head elevated as this can help you relieve any discomfort.
Following your doctor’s instructions will aid a lot in recovering sooner. You might be prescribed an antibiotic to avoid any infections. Also, make sure that you take any prescribed drugs. You might be prescribed a pain reliever as well, though this procedure rarely causes too much pain.
Speak to your doctor before you take any kind of over-the-counter pain reliever. You might also be prescribed a saline solution for rinsing your nasal passages for three to seven days after your procedure. This will help in keeping the sinuses lubricated and help to promote healing.
Balloon Sinuplasty is preferred by many as it has multiple benefits.
Safe and Effective : The use of any surgical instrument involves some risk, but according to clinical studies, balloon sinuplasty is safe and effective comparatively in relieving symptoms of sinusitis, in carefully selected patients.
Minimally Invasive : The technology used in this procedure makes the use of small, soft and flexible devices that are able to enter entirely through the nostrils. These devices are able to gently open blocked sinus openings in many cases, without the removal of bone or tissue.
Reduced Bleeding: Since no tissue or bone is removed while using this technology, there is very minimal bleeding associated with this procedure.
Improved Recovery Time : Most patients can return to their routine just one day after the surgery.
Does Not Limit Treatment Options : This technology is an endoscopic tool and might be used with other sinus surgery techniques as well as other medical therapies. If you are having progressive disease, it will not limit your future treatment options. If the balloon fails to address your sinus problems, you can consider other options.
Risks and complications
All types of sinus surgery carry few risks and balloon sinuplasty is not an exception. The greatest potential complication is intracranial complications. In these cases, the connection between your brain and your nose is affected during your surgery which can cause brain fluid to leak into your nose. This complication doesn’t however happen quite often and can be usually fixed before your surgery.
There is also a chance of your nose changing slightly in appearance, after your surgery. Sometimes the swelling doesn’t subside for several days or the nose can look different in some cases once the swelling goes away.
If you are able to cleanse the area correctly, it might lead to an infection that will require immediate medical attention. Although most sinus surgeries can improve your sense of smell, there are some times when the surgery can make it worse.