There has unquestionably been a lot of buzz in the medical industry about balloon sinuplasty recently, and with good reason. It represents a vast improvement over procedures formerly used in the treatment of blocked or infected sinuses, and all the symptoms which those conditions triggered.
It wasn’t long ago that people suffering from sinus infections and chronic congestion were forced to endure headaches, a stuffy or runny nose, fevers, coughing, sneezing, and a whole host of other unpleasant symptoms that were all attributable to inflammation or infection present in the sinuses.
Every person is born with four sets of sinuses, and any of these can become congested or infected at virtually any age. When that happens, it becomes very difficult to concentrate and to get through an ordinary day at home or at work. While there have been many medications used to treat the condition, most of these end up being only partially effective, if at all, and the symptoms which they are treating come back fairly quickly. Even worse, in many cases the antihistamines, antidepressants, antibiotics, decongestants, and pain medications which have been used in treatment can impart their own set of side effects on a patient, and some of these are as bad as or worse than the original symptoms.
The underlying problem with sinuses is that sinus tracks often become obstructed or are too narrow to begin with, so blockage comes about fairly easily. In severe cases, when medication treatments failed to manage the problem, the only other possibility would then become a surgical solution. Not only was surgery a procedure which carried its own set of risks, but general anesthesia was always required, and since the surgery itself was a highly invasive procedure, it was always followed by significant downtime for the patient.
Anyone who had sinus surgery a decade or more ago probably had to endure between three and four weeks of recovery time, before being able to return to work or any other strenuous activity. But all that changed with the advent of balloon sinuplasty.
How Balloon Sinuplasty Works
This procedure is done on an outpatient basis in a doctor’s office, and instead of requiring general anesthesia as old-style sinus surgery did, only an IV sedation is necessary for a patient undergoing the procedure. During balloon sinuplasty, a tiny balloon is placed into each one of the normal drainage paths used by sinus cavities, and this balloon is then inflated to cause dilation of the pathway.
Once this has been accomplished, the balloon is deflated and easily removed, without the need for any kind of stent. Not only is the natural sinus flow restored, but the long-term outlook for keeping the pathway open and flowing is nearly 100%. This means that once you undergo balloon sinuplasty, the chances are that you won’t need to have the procedure repeated, and that you can expect sinus issues and congestions to be a thing of the past.
In many cases, patients undergoing balloon sinuplasty begin to notice a reduction of sinus pressure and much improved breathing right while they are sitting in the doctor’s office. There is almost no discomfort reported by patients being operated on in this manner, and there is no need for medication to relieve any kind of pain, because discomfort is minimal. In the vast majority of cases, patients are back to work the very next day, and instead of feeling any lingering effects from the procedure, they universally experience a much better outlook and sense of well-being than they had the day before.
Is Sinuplasty Right for You?
The question of whether balloon sinuplasty is right for you personally will relate to how severe your sinus issues are, and how confident you feel about the procedure managing your own set of symptoms. Generally speaking, balloon sinuplasty has been an extremely successful medical procedure which has already been used on almost 400,000 patients, most of whom are highly satisfied. Any risks which were associated with sinus surgery in the past are virtually non-existent with this procedure, and no other tissue is even harmed in the process.
It is a minimally invasive procedure which is much safer than old surgical procedures used to be, because it involves no removal of bone or tissue. Recovery time from this procedure is minimal, and in most cases no recovery time is needed at all. This is also a very cost-effective procedure, since it does not call for general anesthesia and it does not involve any kind of surgery or hospital stay.
Balloon sinuplasty may be exactly the right treatment for you if you routinely experience chronic nasal congestion, headaches, sinus pressure and pains, or if your sense of taste and smell are often impaired. When these symptoms occur, and they cannot be effectively managed by over-the-counter medications or any of the prescription medications your doctor might recommend, it may be time for you to consider balloon sinuplasty as a more long-lasting solution to your ongoing sinus problems.