Balloon sinuplasty is a surgical procedure used to treat chronic sinusitis. Also referred to as rhinosinusitis, sinusitis is the inflammation and swelling of the sinuses and nasal cavity. This restricts the draining of mucus causing nasal congestion, difficulty breathing through the nose, and pain. Sinusitis can be caused by a variety of factors including: viral or bacterial infections, allergies, and deviated nasal septum. Additionally, it can be acute or chronic, if symptoms last longer than twelve weeks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 million adults have chronic sinusitis in the U.S. Balloon sinuplasty is a relatively newer treatment option that can drastically alleviate symptoms!
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005, balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive way to treat chronic sinusitis. Because it does not involve the cutting or loss of any nasal tissues or bones, balloon sinuplasty has a relatively quick recovery time and is becoming the go to choice. According to a study published in 2017, the number of procedures increased by 59% from 2011 to 2014.
Balloon sinuplasty is performed by an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor; also known as an otolaryngologist. The procedure can be done under anesthesia which needs to be discussed and established beforehand. Balloon sinuplasty involves inserting a small flashlight into the nasal passageway as well as a thin balloon catheter. The ENT is then able to inflate the balloon which opens up the sinus opening. The expansion of this space allows mucus build up to be flushed out with a saline solution. After the sinus cavity is cleared out, the doctor removes the balloon but the expansion it created remains which alleviates the pressure associated with mucus/pus accumulation.
Recovery & Effectiveness
One of the benefits of balloon sinuplasty is the quick recovery time. People are typically able to fully resume daily life within 24-48 hours. The after effects of surgery are minimal and include: discharge from the nose, fatigue, and some swelling. In addition to a smooth recovery, there are several studies that investigate the effectiveness of balloon sinuplasty as a cure for chronic sinusitis.
- 2017 study: included 30 children who underwent the surgery and were studied for one year. Researchers found that the procedure cured sinusitis in 94% of the children.
- 2016 study: include 15 people who underwent balloon sinuplasty and were studied for 6 months after the surgery. Researchers found that there were no adverse effects of the surgery and that all patients improved significantly
There are additional studies that highlight the quick recovery time, no or minimal side effects, and alleviation of sinusitis.
Costs depend on individual insurance plans and coverage. Because balloon sinuplasty is relatively newer and rapidly growing, there still are some insurance policies that do not provide coverage. Typically, balloon sinuplasty can range from $3,000-$7,000. Rates also depend on the doctor and the setting of the surgery (office/clinic setting vs. operating room). It is critical to check-in with your insurance provider well in advance to know the benefits you are eligible for.
Additional Benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty
Balloon sinuplasty is now one of the most common sinus surgeries because of the low risk of complications, relatively easy recovery, and long-term effectiveness for sinusitis. In addition to these benefits, other advantages include the following:
- No tissue, bone, structural damage caused by surgery
- Low risk of bleeding
- Incredibly short office, clinic, or hospital stay (which reduces associated costs)
- Very few post-operative appointments
- Reduced need for pain management medications
- Reduced risk of postoperative infection, tissue damage, bleeding etc.
- Long lasting relief from pressure and mucus build-up
Balloon sinuplasty is a treatment option that provides sustainable results. People experiencing chronic sinusitis are relieved from the range of symptoms that disrupted daily life. This allows people to navigate their personal and professional responsibilities with ease. This includes being more present during conversations, performing tasks more easily, and the ability to enjoy time with others!
Balloon sinuplasty is a promising therapy that can drastically improve quality of life. If you experience chronic sinus issues and are interested in this treatment, contact us to further discuss the options available to you!