Sinus & Allergy

Treating Chronic Sinusitis with Balloon Sinuplasty

written by Becki Andrus

Chronic sinusitis is not only painful, but it can be frustrating to have constant sinus problems that disrupt your daily activities. Antibiotics might cause temporary relief, but the recurring infection keeps coming back over and over again. It can feel like a hopeless situation when you have ongoing sinus pain and pressure. Luckily, medical treatments are available that can help you find the relief that you need.

If you are tired of taking different antibiotics and continuing to have the same sinus issues, it might be time to talk to your ENT about alternative treatment options. People who experience chronic sinus infections often benefit from a modern-day treatment: balloon sinuplasty.

What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

Balloon sinuplasty can be an effective treatment for people who experience severe, chronic nasal blockages and sinus inflammation. These conditions often lead to the development of recurring sinus infections since the sinuses are unable to drain.

Initially, the procedure was developed to open congested blood vessels near the heart. When doctors found how effective angioplasty was for dilating damaged blood vessels, then the same technology started being used for clogged sinuses. Balloon sinuplasty is a relatively new treatment – it was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005.

This endoscopic nasal surgery involves inserting a balloon catheter through the nose to reach the sinuses. When the balloon reaches the larger cavities of the nasal sinuses, then the balloon is inflated to open up the area. By dilating the openings of these sinuses, it enables the passageways to be drained and cleared. The doctor will use a saline solution to flush out congestion during the treatment.

After the sinuses are opened, the doctor will deflate the balloon and remove it from the sinus passages. The patient is under anesthesia during the procedure. Balloon sinuplasty can be performed as an in-office procedure. Or, sometimes doctors choose to perform the procedure in an out-patient clinic or hospital.

What Does Balloon Sinuplasty Treat?

Balloon sinuplasty is a treatment often recommended for chronic sinusitis or rhinosinusitis. Patients with chronic sinus inflammation and blockages in the nose can benefit from this sinus surgery.

This treatment isn’t recommended for acute, one-time sinus infections. Instead, it is often used for patients who have long-lasting sinus issues. In 2016, a study reported that 100% of 15 adults who had balloon sinuplasty experienced improved symptoms 3 to 6 months after the procedure.

Is Balloon Sinuplasty Permanent?

Most patients receive fast, effective relief immediately after the treatment. For some people, this treatment is sufficient for long-term results. But there are times when patients need to have balloon sinuplasty again in the future. The cause of the sinus blockages will determine whether the procedure will need to be repeated.

For example, the symptoms might return if sinusitis is related to seasonal allergies. The procedure opens up the passages and provides relief. But the inflammation can return if you aren’t proactive about addressing the underlying allergies that contribute to the sinus issues.

Remember that balloon sinuplasty opens blocked sinuses and improves airflow. This treatment doesn’t address the underlying disease that causes sinus symptoms. Not only is it essential to open the sinuses, but you also need to talk to your ENT doctor about other medical treatments that address the root problem.

Is Balloon Sinuplasty Painful?

Balloon sinuplasty can be performed under local or general anesthesia. Most people can manage their pain using over-the-counter pain relievers and home remedies. 

Common side effects after balloon sinuplasty include:

  • Bloody nasal drainage for a few days
  • Tenderness in the forehead, cheeks, and nasal areas
  • Congestion
  • Minor swelling in the facial area and nasal cavities

 With proper care and rest during the recovery time, you can minimize the risk of a secondary infection after this treatment.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Balloon Sinuplasty?

The benefit of this endoscopic treatment is that it’s a minimally invasive procedure. Since the doctor can access the sinuses through the nasal passages, there’s no need to cut tissue or bone in the nasal area.

As a result, the recovery time is relatively short compared to major surgery. Because of the fast recovery time, this procedure is becoming the recommended treatment for patients who aren’t responding well to other therapies for chronic sinusitis (like antibiotics, decongestants, and corticosteroids).

Congestion relief is felt immediately after the treatment. Full recovery times vary from patient to patient. Most people can return to normal activities within a day or two.

In the first 24 hours after the treatment, it’s essential to follow your doctor’s recommendations. For example, you shouldn’t blow your nose. Your recovery will continue for a week, with recommendations to avoid elevated heart rate and any strenuous activity. Even though you will feel noticeably better within the first two days, plan for a week of recovery time so you can take it easy as needed.

Keep in mind that the fastest recovery happens when you follow the instructions provided by your doctor. Take your antibiotics and any other medications prescribed after the surgery. Also, rinsing the nasal passages three to seven days after the procedure can promote the healing process.

ENT Consult: Are You A Good Candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty?

You can talk to an ENT to decide if you are the right candidate for balloon sinuplasty. Patients with these symptoms might benefit from this treatment:

  • Headache pain located around the eyes
  • Recurring sinus infections
  • Sinus infections that don’t respond to antibiotics
  • Chronic nasal issues
  • Chronic congestion
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose because of congestion

If you are looking for relief from chronic sinus pain, then talk to an ENT about your symptoms. Through this diagnostic process, the doctor can address your unique concerns and find the best treatment to help you achieve long-lasting relief.

In-Office Balloon Sinuplasty from Collin County ENT

Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat is here to help! We offer in-office balloon sinuplasty as a treatment at Collin County Ear Nose & Throat.

We have two offices in the local area: Frisco and Plano, TX. You can book an appointment using our online form. Or contact our office during regular business hours: (972) 596-4005.

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