Posted by: Maryland ENT in General

Many people with chronic sinus pain usually accept the pain as part of their life. They may try to manage the unpleasant symptoms with either medication or sinus surgery.

But taking medications can come with unwanted side effects. Undergoing a traditional sinus procedure may mean spending a long time recovering, and it might not be effective at reducing symptoms. 

Balloon sinuplasty is an effective and safe sinus procedure. This minimally invasive, FDA-approved procedure is used to treat chronic sinusitis.

It’s a great option if your symptoms don’t get better with standard treatments like saline rinses, antibiotics, nasal decongestants, and corticosteroids. Keep reading to learn more about balloon sinuplasty and find out if it may be right for you!

What is Chronic Sinusitis?

diagram of sinusitis

One of the main jobs of your sinuses is to moisturize the inside of your nose. Sinuses also produce mucus to protect your nose from pollutants, dust, and dirt that can harm your health.

Usually, mucus moves to the back of your throat, where it’s swallowed. When your sinuses can’t drain because of swelling, an allergic reaction, irritation, or an infection that blocks the nose, mucus and pus remain trapped inside the sinuses.

Having mucus that remains trapped inside the sinuses can cause them to swell and become infected or irritated. The inflammation is referred to as sinusitis.

Sinusitis becomes chronic if you experience moderate to severe symptoms for up to 6 months a year. Sometimes the symptoms can persist throughout the year.

The symptoms of chronic sinusitis include the following symptoms:

  • Congestion
  • Sinus pressure
  • Sore throat
  • Sinus headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Yellow or green mucus
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Painful nose and throat
  • Cough
  • Ear discomfort or pain
  • Swelling and tenderness around the forehead, eyes, cheeks, and nose

If left untreated, sinusitis can increase the risk of sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Undergoing a balloon sinuplasty opens and restructures the nasal passage, relieving the symptoms of chronic sinusitis.

How Does Balloon Sinuplasty Work?

balloon catheters used to open the frontal sinus

The 15 to 30-minute balloon sinuplasty procedure is performed in-office by your ear, nose, and throat doctor at Maryland ENT. You’ll be under local anesthesia during the procedure.

Your ENT specialist will put a thin guidance wire with a small flashlight at the tip into your sinus cavity. Next, a small and flexible balloon will be inserted then gradually inflated. This action gently expands and restructures the bones next to your sinuses.

From there, your Maryland ENT doctor will use a saline solution to flush out any mucus, pus, and other irritants inside your sinus passages. Finally, the balloon will be deflated and removed carefully, leaving you with expanded and clean sinuses that can more easily drain fluid.

After the procedure, you’ll have better airflow throughout your nose, allowing you to breathe better.

Who is a Good Candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty?

woman holding her nose

While balloon sinuplasty can help with sinus issues, it’s not suitable for everyone. You may be a good candidate for balloon sinuplasty if the following apply to you:

  • You have a chronic sinus infection that doesn’t respond well to other treatments you’ve tried
  • You’re struggling with chronic bad breath, nasal congestion, headaches, and coughing as a result of sinus problems
  • You don’t have an overgrowth of excessive tissue or polyps in the sinuses

Benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty

There are many benefits of choosing to have a balloon sinuplasty, including:

man sitting on couch
  • Experiencing less bleeding in your nose
  • Your tissues and bones remain intact
  • Minimal downtime after undergoing the procedure
  • Patients experience minimal swelling and bruising
  • You’ll feel less pain during the recovery period
  • The procedure takes only 20-30 minutes and can be performed in-office
  • There are fewer complication risks of scarring, infection, and structural damage
  • It’s an effective way to alleviate the symptoms of chronic sinusitis
  • Attending fewer follow up appointments
  • Most insurance plans cover it

What’s Recovery Like After Having Balloon Sinuplasty?

Because balloon sinuplasty is an in-office procedure, you’ll be able to go home after it’s over. Most patients can resume their daily routine in a day or two of having a balloon sinuplasty.

woman sleeping

Expect to experience mild discomfort in both your nasal area and your nose. If you find it especially painful, you can take over-the-counter pain medication.

Make sure to avoid blowing your nose for the first 24 hours after undergoing a balloon sinuplasty. Your Maryland ENT specialist will also advise you to avoid participating in any strenuous activities for a week.

To let your sinuses heal, take it easy for at least a day or two after you undergo a balloon sinuplasty. As you recover, you may also experience fatigue, congestion, bloody drainage, or discharge. Most of these side effects should resolve on their own within a week.

The Results of Having a Balloon Sinuplasty

Most patients experience relief after a short time of undergoing a balloon sinuplasty. How long the procedure works will depend on the severity of your sinus issues.

It’s unlikely that you’ll need repeat surgeries, but it can happen. Balloon sinuplasty has a high success rate, with most patients reporting lasting relief from their sinus problems.

One distinct advantage of choosing a balloon sinuplasty is that it doesn’t limit your ability to undergo other treatment options. You can use it side by side with different sinus procedures or medical therapies.

It’s important to remember that balloon sinuplasty can only address the symptoms of chronic sinusitis. Because of this, it can’t treat the underlying cause of your condition. For this reason, it’s essential to work with your ENT doctor to get to the bottom of what’s causing your sinus problem.

Find the Long-Term Relief You Need from Chronic Sinusitis

Do you have ongoing sinus problems? The ENT specialists at Maryland ENT can help.

Our team has the top balloon sinuplasty specialists who’ll determine the actual cause of your sinusitis before recommending the best treatment to help you get relief.

Ready to find out if balloon sinuplasty is right for you? Request an appointment at Maryland ENT in Baltimore, MD, today!