Imagine breathing freely, with an improved sense of smell and far less drainage at the back of your throat. Fortunately, this scenario can exist. One of the ways we do this is with a fast and relatively easy treatment known as balloon sinuplasty. This procedure improves the drainage of the sinuses while preserving normal anatomy and mucosal tissue. And it's ideal for many patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis.
Are Balloon Sinuplasty Results Permanent?
Although the reasons for chronic sinusitis can be many, it's generally related to inflammation of the tissue in the sinus cavities, making it extremely difficult to remain clear.
Balloon sinuplasty (BS) aims to restore normal sinus function and provide patients with relief from chronic sinusitis. It's a minimally invasive treatment that uses a small, flexible catheter and sinus balloon. The balloon is inflated after being inserted into the nostril and gently opens the sinus passageway. This moves the surrounding tissues, and unlike medications that merely treat symptoms, BS provides a lasting solution to chronic sinusitis. Because of the complex nature of chronic sinusitis, it is difficult to know if the results will be permanent. However, many clinical trials have shown that many patients do not require any additional procedures.
Details of the Treatment
BS earned FDA approval in 2005 and has since been used to restore normal sinus function, including proper drainage, in tens of thousands of patients. The treatment can often be performed in the office without general anesthesia. It boasts an excellent safety profile and, because it doesn't cut into bone or tissue, may have fewer side effects than endoscopic sinus surgery in carefully selected patients. For instance, patients tend to have:
We begin by using a small camera and inserting that balloon catheter into the nostril. The balloon is gently guided into one of the sinus cavities, allows us to gain access to the blocked sinus passageway. Once the balloon is inflated, a saline solution may be sprayed into the nostril to flush out further blockages.
After ensuring the nasal passage is cleared, we deflate and withdraw the balloon. The entire process can usually be completed in under an hour, and patients often resume their normal activities the following day. Even the recovery is straightforward with simple methods to care for your nose and nasal passageways. For instance, you'll need to give your body enough time to recover - a minimum of 12 to 24 hours.
You'll also need to resist blowing your nose for at least 24 hours. Your tissues will need a little TLC, and blowing only serves to cause irritation. We may provide a nasal spray to use at home that will help safely rinse your passageway. Doses are typically administered every four hours, but we'll tailor treatment to meet your specific needs. Last but not least, if we provide prescription medications, it's important you follow them as directed.
Candidacy for Treatment
Sinusitis impacts 37 million Americans every year. While medications offer relief for some people, it's not a cure-all. Many patients require additional therapy to address their symptoms, and this is where balloon sinuplasty can provide much-needed help. The treatment can be especially beneficial to Louisville, KY patients who have endured years of sinus and allergy problems.
Our staff will discuss in greater detail your candidacy for BS. Generally speaking, those with the following symptoms feel much better after treatment:
How is This Different than Sinus Surgery?
Balloon sinuplasty is a good option for many patients. Your doctor has the experience and expertise to provide recommendations from a variety of sinus procedures, including surgery involving an endoscope and balloon sinuplasty.
In endoscopic sinus surgery, a thin camera rod with a light at the end is used to magnify sinus tissues and specialized instruments can then be used to remove blockages, including scar tissue and nasal polyps.
What the Science Tells Us
Multiple clinical studies confirm BS provides lasting relief from the many symptoms that accompany sinusitis. We're talking about concerns like sore throat, headache, facial pain, stuffy or runny nose, and cough. And the patient success rate associated with this treatment is around 95%.
These same studies show BS opens sinus cavities without causing unwanted side effects like facial bruising and significant discomfort. Equally important, patients do not have to pack their noses with gauze after the treatment.
Studies further show us that patients who undergo BS have substantial improvements to their quality of living. An analysis of 45 different studies revealed that up to 97% of all patients feel relief after treatment. They experience fewer headaches, breathe better, and enjoy improved sleep. They also lead healthier lives thanks to a reduction in recurring sinus and throat infections.
Frequently Asked Questions From Our Louisville, KY Patients
We encourage patients to get answers to their questions before moving forward with treatment. To illustrate, many people want to better understand the exact nature of sinusitis. Let's begin by describing the sinuses, which are four paired cavities in the head. They're connected by narrow channels that help drain the mucous they create. That drainage is important - it keeps the nose clean and free of harmful bacteria.
The sinuses are normally filled with air but can become blocked. When this happens, they also fill with fluid that encourages the growth of bacteria. This leads to tissue swelling that makes breathing highly difficult.
How Long Do I Need to Wait to Exercise?
Earlier, we said most patients resume normal activities within one day. This includes light exercise like walking. Strenuous activities, however, should be delayed at least a week. We can discuss this more during your consultation, at which time we'll assess your condition and ask about your treatment goals.
How Do Nasal Passageways Remain Open After Treatment?
BS dilates sinus openings by pushing aside bones that comprise the sinus ostia. These are the openings that form drainage channels for the sinuses. By physically moving that bone, we're able to remodel the ostia and create wider openings.
What Is the Balloon Made From?
Many patients have a latex allergy that might cause them to initially question BS treatment. But the balloon used is made from a high-strength plastic free of latex. This means it can be safely used even on those with common allergies.
Is Treatment Safe for Children?
BS appears to be an effective and safe way to relieve chronic sinusitis symptoms in children. Many health care providers recommend BS for children to open airways and improve breathing difficulties magnified by sinusitis. Several studies have demonstrated low rates of adverse effects.
How Did This Treatment Originate?
Minimally invasive functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) has been a standard of care since the 1980s. The idea with FESS is to relieve sinus obstruction and recreate the natural outflow of the sinuses. BS started after biomedical engineers reasoned that just as a surgeon can dilate a blocked artery with a balloon, the same could be done with blocked sinuses. BS evolved from this theory and has become a procedure that can be quickly performed, as an in-office treatment, and doesn't require significant downtime.
BS can provide the sinusitis relief you've been searching for. It clears nasal passages, reduces headaches, and improves quality of life. And these benefits are enjoyed without a long and arduous recovery period. Schedule your consultation today by contacting Dr. Thomas S Higgins, MD, MSPH.
Thomas S. Higgins, MD, MSPH
Husband. Dad. Sinusitis Nerd.
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Kentuckiana Ear, Nose & Throat, PSC
6420 Dutchman's Parkway, STE 380
Louisville, KY 40205
Phone: (502) 894-8441