Sinusitis is one of the most common health issues faced across the United States, affecting well over 35 million people every year. It affects more people than asthma or heart disease and has a massive impact on quality of life.

The disease causes inflammation from nasal mucous membranes, throat and sinuses, causing them to swell and build mucous. Sinusitis can be acute and temporary, or chronic and long-term. For many with this condition, a treatment called Balloon Sinuplasty can often alleviate the condition, remove pain and pressure, and get breathing back to normal.

What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

Balloon Sinuplasty is a new and breakthrough procedure in treating chronic and recurrent sinusitis. In this procedure, an ENT doctor uses a procedure on the sinuses similar to the balloon angioplasty used on heart patients with arterial blockage. With Balloon Sinuplasty, the procedure is not as invasive as surgery and requires no removal of tissue or bone.

Some doctors can even offer Balloon Sinuplasty as an outpatient procedure that uses only a local anesthetic and can be performed right in the office. The procedure is touted as safe, effective and fast by doctors. It is considered to be an ideal treatment for the symptoms of sinusitis for patients who have not responded to traditional treatments and medication.

How Does It Work?

In Balloon Sinuplasty, the doctor inserts a small catheter into the nasal passage. This catheter can be inflated like a balloon to expand blocked airways, and allow the build-up of mucous in the membranes to drain. When the catheter is inserted and expanded, the sinuses are flushed out using a saline solution, after which, the catheter is removed and the sinuses, ideally, are clear.

Is it Safe?

There is a wealth of published data that shows Balloon Sinuplasty is completely safe, as well as effective. There have been no reported incidents of complications from the devices, and the data indicates serious improvement in symptoms of sinusitis. Eight different Balloon Sinuplasty studies across nearly 800 patients have had a reported complication rate as low as one-tenth of a percent.

Complications are equally low in both the operating room and in office settings. In addition, the ability to perform the procedure in office under a local anesthetic is an ideal option for those who are physically adverse to general anesthetics, or simply don’t wish to have a general anesthetic administered.

Other Advantages

Patients who undergo treatment in a doctor’s office as an outpatient procedure experience a very fast recovery time. They can generally get back to work within two days’ time, and find that their out-of-pocket costs are much lower than in an operating room setting. There is a very high rate of patient satisfaction with this procedure.

Balloon Sinuplasty is a new and effective procedure for treating chronic severe sinusitis, which can be performed right in your doctor’s office. This treatment carries a wealth of published and clinical evidence to back its effectiveness. It is a safe procedure with nearly zero side effects, and a fast recovery time.

By Ramie A Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT