Balloon Sinuplasty (Balloon Sinus Surgery)
The balloon sinuplasty surgery is one of the latest tools to open sinuses along with the FESS or functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This is a relatively minimally invasive procedure that can be performed in the office or the operating room. The technique may shorten recovery time in a very select group of patients, and provide those suffering from recurrent acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis episodes with improvement in sinus drainage.
Balloon sinus surgery is similar to FESS in that both procedures involve the use of an endoscopic surgical instrument that is used to eliminate blockages in the paranasal sinuses. The types of symptoms that normally qualify a patient to receive a balloon sinuplasty are identical to those required for a FESS procedure. These symptoms include a diagnosis of recurrent acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis, in addition to a poor response to traditional antibiotics and other medications used to treat the condition.
Balloon Sinus Surgery Preparation
Dr. Bennett individualizes every patient’s care. A minimum of half an hour is needed to fully understand your expectations and to get a complete history and evaluation of the inside and outside of your nose. Knowing what to expect will make the entire experience more pleasant and increase your satisfaction with the surgical results. Dr. Bennett will discuss the cosmetic and functional expectations of your balloon sinuplasty in detail to make sure all of your questions are answered. Depending on whether you have functional/breathing issues insurance may cover part of your surgery.
Balloon Sinus Surgery
Balloon sinus surgery is a relatively new technique to open an obstructed frontal sinus, sphenoid sinus, or maxillary sinus. A thin and flexible wire is placed into the sinus. Balloon Sinus Surgery allows for flexibility because it can be performed in either a hospital or surgery center. Alternatively, the surgery may also be performed as an outpatient procedure at a doctor’s office. The procedure can be performed with either general or local anesthesia.
When beginning the procedure, your surgeon will insert a guide wire into your nostril and through the sinus opening via the aid of lighted fiber optics or image-guidance. An endoscope is used to visualize the insertion inside the nose. A balloon is threaded over the wire into the opening of the sinus. The sinus balloon is slowly inflated to open the blockage at the obstructed sinus opening. The balloon will then be deflated and the balloon and guidewire removed from the sinus. The surgeon will inspect the sinus opening to make sure that your sinus has been opened.
If the procedure is performed in the office, you will likely feel healthy enough to return to work and your daily routine in approximately two days.
Is This Considered Cosmetic Surgery?
No. Healthy sinuses and the ability to breathe through the nose are recognized as important to your well-being and health by insurance companies. Insurance will generally cover the functional cost of the surgery. There are some insurance companies that still consider balloon sinuplasty to be “investigational” which really means that they don’t want to pay for the procedure. Make sure that your doctor’s office pre-approves the procedure with your insurance company first to avoid surprises.
Possible Risks and Complications
Balloon Sinus Surgery is relatively safe. As with any procedure, there are risks that you should be aware of. These include:
- Extensive bleeding following surgery, requiring nasal packing or more extensive bleeding control
- Problems during surgery involving the visualization and instrumentation or patient discomfort
- Persistent or early return of infection
- Later need for more extensive surgery
Post Balloon Sinus Operation
The week after the procedure it is normal to have a mild headache for a day or two. You will be given some pain medicine, although most patients take only one or two doses and then switch to an over the counter pain medication. If you see scant, reddish fluid draining from the nose, you should place a dressing under the nostrils to avoid sniffling. You will probably feel a lot of congestion, although some people can breathe very well immediately after surgery. You may have bruising and swelling around the nose and eyes. This will start to resolve within a few days. Most swelling will go down after a couple of weeks, but changes in the nose can continue for a year or more. You will return to the office one week after surgery to have the nasal dressing removed, then return as needed to have the nose checked. Avoid strenuous exercise for three weeks. Avoid wearing glasses for six weeks.
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