Balloon Sinus Surgery
Balloon Sinuplasty In-Depth
by Monica Tadros, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Balloon sinuplasty is offered to correct sinus blockage. The sinuses are the airways for oxygen to travel to the brain during the developmental stages into our adult lives. They are covered with a mucous lining that contains tiny hairs called cilia that sweep the sinuses clean. Each sinus has an opening usually only a few millimeters in size, allowing mucous to drain and debris to be cleared. Chronic inflammation, scar tissue, or polyps may block the natural flow, prevent normal sinus circulation, and cause sinus pressure, pain or infections.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Sinusitis?
Common symptoms include:
- Facial pain, pressure, congestion, or fullness
- Nasal obstruction or blockage
- Discharge of discolored mucus from the nose
- Discolored post-nasal drainage
- Loss of smell
Where Are Our Sinuses Located and What Symptoms May Occur With Sinus Blockage or Unhealthy Sinuses?
We have four paired paranasal sinuses:
- Maxillary sinuses are behind the cheekbone, and facial pain in this area may also radiate to the teeth or ears.
- Frontal sinuses are in the forehead region.
- Ethmoid sinuses are between the eyes. Facial pain or pressure in these sinuses may radiate to the forehead or eyes.
- Sphenoid sinuses are in the center of the skull and may cause pain radiating to the head’s top and back. Because the sinuses drain into the back of the nasal cavity, symptoms may include nasal stuffiness and congestion. When the condition is severe, the eyes may fail to drain into the nose resulting in watery eyes. If the middle ears fail to drain into the nose, ear pressure, pain, or dizziness may occur.
What is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Balloon Sinuplasty (also known as Balloon Sinus Dilation & Sinus Balloon Procedure) is a procedure designed to clear the sinuses. A small and flexible balloon catheter is inserted into your sinus and inflated to clear the sinus passage. The surgery involves no incisions or cutting of bone or tissue. Your sinuses are then cleared, and you will feel relief from the pressure.
The procedure can be performed under local or general anesthesia.
How Does Balloon Sinuplasty Work?
A sinus balloon surgery works by dilating your sinuses and cleaning them out with a saline solution. This makes it easier for you to breathe and prevents further sinus infections.
How Does Balloon Sinuplasty Help Clear Blocked Sinuses Without the Need For Conventional Sinus Surgery?
Any sinus procedure aims to restore normal sinus drainage and circulation, so mucous, debris, and bacteria do not accumulate in the sinuses. In conventional endoscopic sinus surgery, specialized instruments are placed into the nose along with a small endoscope to surgically resect diseased tissue and open or core out the sinuses. Balloon sinus dilation is performed through the nostrils that utilize a small balloon catheter to dilate obstructed sinus passages without making any incisions.
Patient Preparation & Procedure for Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure:
To know what to expect from balloon sinuplasty, here is a step by step description of the procedure:
- Step 1: The nose is numbed with a combination of topical and local anesthetic.
- Step 2: A lighted fiber optic guidewire (1 mm in width) is painlessly snaked into the sinuses.
- Step 3: Once positioned correctly, the guidewire will trans-illuminate the face indicating perfect cannulation of the blocked sinus.
- Step 4: The balloon is advanced and gradually inflated to restructure the previously blocked sinus passage.
Why Doesn’t the Sinus Close up Again After Dilation by Balloon Sinuplasty?
The key to understanding the elegance of balloon sinuplasty lies in the anatomy of sinus bone. The sinus bone is fragile like an eggshell. Once the balloon is inflated, the sinus bone cracks (as simply as an egg might crack with a tap). In this case, the balloon dilation restructures the bone itself and permanently changes the aperture of the blocked sinus tract from as little as one mm to as large as 7mm.
What To Expect After Sinus Balloon Surgery?
After your balloon sinuplasty surgery, you should not experience any negative side effects. For the first few days, you may have some bloody discharge and nasal swelling. This is completely normal and part of the balloon sinuplasty recovery process. Your doctor may give you certain medications to deal with the discomfort. You can return to work in a day or two, depending on how you feel.
Post Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure and Recovery:
Balloon sinuplasty treatment doesn’t entail a long recovery period. There is minimal bleeding and minimal discomfort since there are no incisions made. The majority of patients can return to work and normal activities within 24 hours.
Can Balloon Sinuplasty Be Performed As an in-Office Procedure?
Dr. Tadros has performed hundreds of balloon sinus dilation in NYC & NJ. She is the best surgeon who is skilled in performing balloon dilation safely and effectively in-office. Typically, the office experience is quite comfortable for most patients and can be likened to a dental procedure. However, some patients may have severe septal deviations, which make sinus access difficult. In other cases, some patients simply prefer the comfort of having the procedure performed under anesthesia in an ambulatory surgery center. Our surgeon will meet with you and discuss whether you are a candidate for balloon sinus dilation and determine the treatment plan that is right for you.