Emerging Treatment for Sinusitis: Balloon Sinuplasty

More than 30 million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis, or sinusitis that lasts for at least 12 weeks. If you are one of them, you already know the symptoms of sinus inflammation. You may have pain around your eyes and cheeks, nasal congestion, ear pain, a sore throat and fatigue.

An ear, nose and throat doctor is a specialist that can diagnose chronic sinusitis and recommend treatment, possibly including a balloon sinuplasty.

Need for Balloon Sinuplasty

Initial treatments are more conservative. They may include a saline nasal spray, to clean out your nasal passageways, oral or nasal corticosteroids, to reduce inflammation, and pain relievers. If these don’t work, your otolaryngologist may recommend surgery.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery is the most common type, but it may not be a permanent solution because your sinuses can still become inflamed. Balloon sinuplasty is a newer surgical approach in which a balloon is inserted into your sinus to open them up and keep them clear so you can breathe and be pain-free.

The Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure

A balloon sinuplasty dilation requires general anesthesia. The surgeon places a soft wire into the sinus and puts a balloon tipped catheter onto the wire. An endoscope allows the surgeon to visualize the structure of your sinuses and the placement of the balloon tipped catheter.

When everything is in place, the surgeon inflates the balloon. Complications are rare.

A balloon sinuplasty dilation may be a viable option if you have chronic sinusitis. Your ear, nose and throat doctor can examine you to determine the best treatment for your situation.

Sources: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1574031-overview#showall, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chronic-sinusitis/DS00232/METHOD=print