Balloon sinus surgery, or sinuplasty, is a procedure that opens the sinuses.
This procedure is less invasive than similar procedures and requires less recovery time. Most sinuplasty procedures can be performed in the doctor’s office or in an outpatient center.
- There isn’t any cutting involved with this procedure.
- None of the bone or tissue from the sinus is removed, which is why the recovery process is shorter than other sinus surgeries.
Reasons for Balloon Sinus Surgery
Most people have this procedure performed when they experience recurrent sinus infections or other issues with the sinuses. There are small openings that lead to the inside of the nose that allow mucus to drain from the sinuses. When the sinus is infected and too much mucus builds, then the cavity can’t drain like it normally would. When there are several rounds of this kind of infection, then it can begin to break down the tissue in the sinus or inflame the tissue to the point that it’s hard to breathe.
Symptoms of sinusitis include pressure or pain in the face, congestion, a burning sensation in the nose or in the sinus area, and a loss of taste or smell. Antibiotics can sometimes help for a short time, but surgery is an option that offers long-term benefits.
How it’s Performed
When it is time for the procedure, you might be given medication so that you’re relaxed. You usually aren’t placed under anesthesia, because balloon sinus surgery usually doesn’t take long to complete. A flexible balloon catheter is inserted through the nose to the sinus cavity. The balloon on the end of the catheter is then inflated. This will expand the cavity so that it’s easier to clean.
Once the opening is expanded, saline is sprayed into the sinus. This will loosen the mucus that is in the sinus before it’s flushed out. The expanded opening makes it easier for the mucus to come out of the sinus cavity. After the balloon and catheter are removed, the sinus is left open. The balloon’s purpose is to gently enlarge the wall of the sinus cavity without surgery and without removing any of the tissue in the area so that the sinus stays open.
Benefits of Balloon Sinus Surgery
One of the benefits that patients experience from balloon sinus surgery is that it’s safe and effective. With other surgeries, you’re usually given some kind of anesthetic to sedate you, which has risks in itself aside from the surgery. Although there is a catheter inserted into the sinus, it’s not as invasive as removing tissues with a variety of instruments that are used during other types of surgery. The procedure gently opens the sinus instead of cutting to enlarge the sinus. You can usually go back to work or begin everyday tasks after one or two days.
Another benefit with this surgery is reduced bleeding. With a minimal amount of bleeding, you usually won’t get a headache or experience the drainage that you might with other surgical procedures.