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Understanding Balloon Sinuplasty

Written by: Emma Squillace

Sinusitis is a frustrating condition that millions of people suffer from. There are several treatments for sinusitis that are effective for many patients, like medication. However – what about the patients who do not respond well to those treatments? Fortunately, the ENT (ear, nose, and throat) experts at West Medical offer a minimally invasive procedure that is effective, but also safe and has a shorter recovery period than surgery that removes bone or tissue from your nose. This procedure is called balloon sinuplasty.

What is sinusitis?

Balloon sinuplasty treats sinusitis, which is an inflammation of the sinus tissue. Normally your sinus tissue is filled with air, but this tissue can get infected and filled with fluid sometimes. Inflamed sinuses are fairly common, with about 35 million Americans suffering from sinusitis at least one time per year. Sinusitis can be:

  • acute – which lasts about 2 to 4 weeks
  • subacute – which lasts about 4 to 12 weeks
  • chronic – which lasts more than 12 weeks
  • recurring – which happens multiple times per year

Symptoms of sinusitis can feel a lot like a cold. You may have a runny nose, watery eyes, and also feel facial pain. If you have gone for more than a week without relief from your symptoms, you are likely not suffering from a cold.

Do I have sinusitis or allergies?

Since allergies tend to last a lot longer than a cold, it can be quite difficult to tell if you have allergy symptoms or sinusitis. A runny nose and watery eyes can be symptoms of either allergies or sinusitis. However, here are symptoms that often indicate sinusitis:

  • pain in your head or teeth
  • swollen feeling around your forehead or eyes
  • thick, colored mucus
  • bad breath
  • headache that gets worse when you either lie down or bend over

Because the symptoms of a cold, allergies, and sinusitis have so much overlap, it’s best to see a specialist to help you understand what is causing your symptoms. Both a cold and allergies can lead to sinusitis. At West Medical, our team is happy to help you understand what’s causing your symptoms, and what treatment options you have.

Is a balloon sinuplasty right for me?

Some people with sinusitis are able to get relief from their symptoms with over the counter medications, and lifestyle adjustments like sleeping with a humidifier on. But if you do have sinusitis – especially if it’s recurring – and medicine or lifestyle changes have not been effective in providing relief, you may benefit from a treatment like balloon sinuplasty.  

How does balloon sinuplasty work?

During the procedure, you will either be sedated or have general anesthesia, to ensure you’re comfortable. Our doctor inserts a small, soft, deflated balloon into your nose. The balloon is gently inflated so it puts pressure on the sinuses, which results in more open, restructured nasal passages.  Sometimes we use saline to flush out the sinuses. There is no cutting of bone, and no removal of tissue in your nose. The procedure allows your sinuses to drain more easily, relieving sinusitis symptoms in many cases. More than 95% of the patients who have had balloon sinuplasty, are happy with their decision.

Balloon sinuplasty or sinus surgery?

Balloon sinuplasty has several advantages over traditional sinus surgery. First, it is minimally invasive which means most patients have less pain and a shorter recovery time. You also will likely be able to return to your normal activities with less downtime. Patients who have balloon sinuplasty have a lower risk of infection, and less chance of bruising or swelling.

At West Medical, our ear, nose, and throat doctors are true experts in their field. If you believe you have sinusitis, and are not finding relief from medication, call our offices. You may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty.  You can reach our expert team at (855) 690-0565.

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