Who is a Good Candidate For Balloon Sinuplasty?
Having anything wrong with your sinuses can be a frustrating situation. The congestion and pain are bad enough when you have them for maybe a couple of days. But if you've been having chronic sinus problems, the feelings can be unbearable. If standard sinusitis treatments haven't helped you, you may need to look into more specialized procedures. The doctors at ENT Centers of Excellence can help you overcome chronic sinusitis through the use of techniques such as balloon sinuplasty.
What Is Sinusitis and Why Won't It Go Away?
Sinusitis is a broad term that covers any sinus infection, inflammation, or irritation that occurs in the sinus cavities in your head. These can occur after bacterial infections, prolonged allergies, respiratory viruses, fungal infections, the growth of nasal polyps, the presence of a deviated septum, among others. Many times an initial infection will go away but leave behind inflammation that becomes sinusitis. Having one of these conditions doesn't guarantee that you'll develop sinusitis, but your risk does increase.
The symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Facial pain, especially around the nose and the area of the forehead near the eyebrows
- Tooth pain and/or headache
- Colored mucus
- Sore throat and/or post-nasal drip
- Unexplained coughing
- Bad breath
Sinusitis becomes chronic if the symptoms last for at least 12 weeks or if the symptoms come back at least four times in a year. Initial treatments target the initial cause. For example, a bacterial infection would need to be treated with antibiotics; inflammation from an allergy would need to be treated with allergy medications. Sometimes these are strong enough to overcome the problem. However, sometimes you need more targeted treatment that works directly on your sinuses.
What Is Balloon Sinuplasty?
One common treatment is balloon sinuplasty, in which a small balloon is used to open your sinuses. Your doctor inserts this small, deflated balloon via a catheter into the problem sinus and inflates the balloon. The sides of the balloon push open the walls of your sinuses, allowing the doctor to clean out whatever is in there. Your doctor will likely spray a saline (saltwater) solution inside your sinuses as well; the solution not only washes out mucus but also soothes inflamed tissue. The balloon is not permanent and is removed once the sinuses are cleaned out.
Balloon sinuplasty doesn't necessarily have to be repeated; sometimes one round is all it takes to resolve a stubborn situation. However, you'll need to discuss this with a specialist because everyone's sinusitis is different.
Luckily, balloon sinuplasty is minimally invasive. There's no cutting at all unless the doctor doing the procedure wants to remove polyps. The balloon does have to be placed into the sinuses, but this should not cause more than mild discomfort. This is a proven treatment that does work and that does not prevent future treatments for additional nasal and sinus conditions. Sometimes the procedure is done with local anesthesia, and occasionally general anesthesia is used.
Benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty
Both adults and children can undergo this procedure, and many times it can be done in the doctor’s office, rather than in a hospital setting. Recovery time is fairly swift. It's a suitable way to halt chronic sinusitis quickly and remove the material that might be behind all the inflammation and pain. You can also have the procedure done even if you're undergoing additional treatments for sinusitis.
If you've been having trouble with your sinuses that just won't go away, contact the ENT Centers of Excellence to set up a consultation appointment. We want you to breathe easy and live a pain-free life. With balloon sinuplasty, relief is close at hand.