Sinus problems are quite common in the U.S.; in fact, almost 30 million adults in the U.S. suffer from what is known as sinusitis, a swelling or irritation of the lining of the sinuses. But how do you know if your sinus problems are bad enough to require what is known as balloon sinuplasty?
What is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Balloon sinus dilation, or balloon sinuplasty, is a minimally invasive treatment that reshapes your sinuses. It works by using a guide wire catheter to place small balloons in specific locations in your sinus passageways. When the balloons are expanded (or “dilated”), they expand your sinus passageways. This can help improve your breathing as well as help with drainage, making your sinuses more functional.
The results are often immediate and the recovery time is minimal when compared to other procedures designed to improve sinus function. The procedure usually has relatively few complications and can be done in an out-patient setting.
Who Needs Balloon Sinuplasty?
If you have been suffering from sinus problems for more than 12 weeks, your primary care physician will usually refer you to a specialist called an otolaryngologist, or an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor). They will help you figure out what treatment would be best for you.
Some of the symptoms they’ll be looking for include:
- Sinus pressure and congestion
- A nasal obstruction or blockage
- Puss in the nasal cavity
- Facial pain
- Swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Loss of the sense of smell or taste
- Sinus headaches
- Yellow or green mucus nasal discharge or drainage
- Teeth pain
Is Balloon Sinuplasty the Only Option?
While balloon sinuplasty is one of the safest and easiest procedures among the various treatments for chronic sinusitis, it’s important to exhaust other options. Your primary care physician will likely try medication to treat your sinus problems, including antibiotics and nasal sprays. There are also other things you can do to relieve symptoms like getting more rest, drinking warm fluids and taking hot showers, gargling with salt water and rinsing out your sinuses with something like a Neti Pot.
If none of those things work, however, you may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty. It is less risky than the many alternative surgeries for dealing with sinus issues because there is no cutting or removal of the bone or soft tissue during the procedure.
After the Procedure
As mentioned, there are minimal complications, bleeding and recovery time when it comes to balloon sinuplasty. And the results of the procedure will last longer than some other treatment options because it permanently reshapes your sinus cavities by expanding the thin bone lining of the sinuses, allowing to lining to resettle in a new position, leaving the passages wider than they were before.
If you would like to know more about balloon sinuplasty or have questions about your chronic sinus problems and would like to know your treatment options, contact the offices of Dr. Joshua Light or call 561-737-8584.