Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon Sinuplasty in San Diego, CA

Approved by the FDA in 2005, balloon sinuplasty is a relatively new technique that treats chronic rhinosinusitis, sinus inflammation, and nasal obstruction.

The effectiveness of balloon sinuplasty in treating sinus conditions has gained recognition and acceptance throughout the medical community. As the procedure rises in popularity, more people are learning how it can improve the quality of their breathing, sleeping, and lives overall.

  • But what is balloon sinuplasty? 
  • How does it help a patient?
  • How do you know if the procedure is correct for you?
XprESS image of procedure in an office
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Here, Dr. Paul Schalch Lepe, a board-certified otolaryngologist and sleep medicine specialist, explains everything you need to know and balloon sinuplasty. 

If you’re experiencing rhinosinusitis or persistent nasal blockage, then reach out to Dr. Schalch Lepe at (858) 925-5800 or fill in his contact form to arrange your consultation today. Silenso Clinic is located in Carmel Valley in North San Diego County and serves many communities throughout the greater San Diego area, including La Jolla, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, Coronado, Eastlake, Chula Vista, Rancho Santa Fe, and more.  

What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive, endoscopic treatment for sinusitis and nasal swelling. 

Before balloon sinuplasty, sinus conditions were primarily treated with nasal and oral corticosteroids, antibiotics, or nasal decongestants, which didn’t provide the results many patients were looking for, or more invasive functional endoscopic sinus surgery in the operating room, under general anesthesia

Balloon sinuplasty was inspired by angioplasty – a medical procedure where heart surgeons use balloon catheters to open damaged or blocked blood vessels hindering blood flow near the heart. 

Dr. Schalch Lepe is highly specialized in balloon sinuplasty (BSP) and functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) which can effectively treat chronic sinusitis, a swelling of the mucous membranes that line the sinus cavities.    

 

How Does Balloon Sinuplasty Work?

Balloon sinuplasty uses specialized balloon catheters to reopen and unblock one or all four pairs of nasal sinuses.

Woman at the beach taking a deep breath

When these nasal passages collapse or become inflamed, mucus, pus, and discharge build-up, causing irritation, localized swelling, and congestion. This is where patients experience breathing problems.  

Balloon catheters are flexible, inflatable, hollow tubes. 

During your balloon sinuplasty, Dr. Schalch Lepe expertly inserts the balloon catheter into the affected nasal passage, mechanically opens the passage by inflating the catheter, and then drains the discharge that is causing the blockage. The balloon attached to the catheter dilates the narrow passages open, without cutting or removing tissue (thus decreasing the likelihood of scar formation). No balloon is implanted or left inside the nose.

Balloon Sinuplasty Effectiveness

Balloon sinuplasty is now commonly performed as an in-office sinus procedure. 

This is because of its high success rate in appropriately selected patients, low risk of complications, rapid healing time, and long-lasting results for most patients.

  • A 2013 study of 20 patients revealed that all experienced significantly improved symptoms one week after surgery and remained symptoms-free a year afterward. 
  • A 2016 study of a small sample size of 15 adult balloon sinuplasty patients showed 100% improved symptoms three and six months are the procedure with no unexpected side effects. The study also concluded that patients had more open, clear nasal passages after the surgery than before. 
  • In 2017, 30 children were treated with balloon sinuplasty with a 94% success rate, all of whom experienced positive effects for up to 1 year following the treatment. 

What are the Benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty?

There are numerous benefits of balloon sinuplasty over traditional sinus surgeries. While other sinus problems might be better treated with a different procedure, when the complication is due to a build-up of mucus or other discharge, balloon sinuplasty is becoming the go-to procedure. 

This is because:

  • There is no cutting or excising involved with the procedure, which leaves the internal structures of the nose and sinuses completely intact 
  • Lower risk of bleeding
  • Shorter procedure duration and much faster recovery period
  • Fewer post-procedure visits to clean out debris and ensure proper healing.
  • Reduced requirement for postoperative pain medications or general anesthesia during the procedure

Choose Dr. Schalch Lepe for a San Diego Balloon Sinuplasty

Specializing in the treatment of a variety of conditions (deviated septum, chronic sinusitis, nasal obstruction, obstructive sleep apnea, etc.),  Dr. Schach Lepe is highly qualified and motivated to provide his patients with the best possible balloon sinuplasty results. Dr. Shalch Lepe takes an in-depth, personalized approach with each patient to ensure they receive the best possible treatment for their situation.

Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Dr. Schalch Lepe has the unique perspective of having trained in multiple countries. This experience has led him to be sought out by domestic and international patients, many of whom are Mexican ex-pats living throughout San Diego County and Southern California.

portrait photo of Dr. Schalch Lepe

Better Breathing Starts Today

Specializing in the treatment of a variety of conditions (deviated septum, nasal obstruction, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, etc.),  Dr. Schalch Lepe is highly qualified and motivated to provide his patients with the best possible treatment results. Dr. Schalch Lepe takes an in-depth, personalized approach with each patient to ensure they receive the best possible treatment for their situation.

Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Dr. Schalch Lepe has the unique perspective of having trained in multiple countries. This experience has led him to be sought out by domestic and international patients, many of whom are Mexican ex-pats living throughout San Diego County and Southern California.

What Can I Expect Before, During, and After my Balloon Sinuplasty Treatment?

Knowing exactly what to expect from any medical procedure is the best way to reduce any anxiety associated with the treatment. Patients planning to get balloon sinuplasty can take solace from the fact that the procedure is minimally painful, relatively quick, and requires minimal downtime. 

Leading up to your balloon sinuplasty, you’ll have an in-depth consultation with Dr. Schalch Lepe to confirm the origins of your symptoms and decide that balloon sinuplasty is the ideal solution for your problems. 

During your balloon sinuplasty, Dr. Schalch Lepe will likely recommend performing the procedure under local anesthesia in the office. This depends entirely on the patient at hand and will be pre-determined with you during your pre-operative consultation.

Dr. Schalch Lepe then inserts an endoscope to visualize and guide a small, flexible catheter into the nasal and sinus passages. This helps Dr. Schalch Lepe see exactly what is going on inside your sinuses and nasal passages.

Once the required depth is met, the balloon catheter is positioned and then slowly inflated, causing it to push against the sinus walls, and dilate open the obstructed sinus passages. 

Once the passageway is opened, Dr. Schalch Lepe might suction or flush the sinuses out with saline rinse to completely remove blockages, after which the catheter and endoscope are removed, allowing the passageways to drain naturally. 

This whole procedure takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour until completion.

The majority of patients return home after the completion of their balloon sinuplasty. Generally, people might experience tenderness, swelling, and slight bloody discharge. We recommend that you avoid intense physical activity for several days, use your saline rinses daily and only blow your nose gently.. 

This gives your body a chance to fully and rapidly heal. 

Furthermore, patients often get the best nights of sleep with an elevated head and use over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to keep swelling and irritation to a minimum in the days immediately following the procedure.

Schedule Your Balloon Sinuplasty in San Diego, CA

Balloon sinuplasty is by far one of Dr. Schalch Lepe’s preferred treatments for nasal issues. This is because many medical insurers cover the procedure, it is highly effective, and patients enjoy a speedy recovery.

If you’re experiencing persistent nasal congestion, then reach out to Dr. Schalch Lepe at Silenso Clinic. Contact (858) 925-5800 or fill out his online form to begin your journey towards a better life.

Balloon Sinuplasty FAQs

Yes, balloon sinuplasty (BSP) is a minimally invasive technique that can be performed in the office, under local anesthesia or minimal sedation, that is safe and effective, as well tolerated. BSP was introduced in 2005 and is FDA-approved to treat obstruction of the sinus drainage pathways, for the treatment of chronic sinus inflammation.

In-office balloon sinuplasty is a safe and effective technique indicated for the treatment of chronic sinus inflammation, secondary to obstruction of the natural drainage pathways of the sinuses. There is ample scientific evidence of its efficacy in patients suffering from chronic sinus inflammation who have failed multiple medical therapy rounds, including antibiotics. For appropriately selected individuals, BSP is a safe alternative to functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) in the operating room.

Chronic sinusitis is a condition that oftentimes requires multiple rounds of medical therapy, i.e., antibiotics and other medications, or procedures (in-office or surgical). In office BSP is safe and effective and has been shown to provide long-term relief from chronic recurrent sinusitis. It occasionally needs to be done as a revision (repeat procedure), but that is also true from more invasive surgery done in the operating room. The key is in identifying the right candidate for the right procedure.

Well over 375,000 people around the world have experienced Balloon Sinuplasty. Since its introduction in 2005, many thousands of chronic sinusitis patients have been successfully treated with BSP.

The main advantages of BSP over FESS is that it minimally invasive, and it can be performed under local anesthesia, or minimal sedation, in an office-based setting, thus avoiding the potential risks of surgery done under general anesthesia. The basic principle of BSP is dilation of the natural sinus drainage pathways without tissue removal. This allows for the normal function of the sinuses to be restored, with less risk of scar tissue formation or other complications that may result from conventional surgery.

Yes. BSP has a proven track record of safety and efficacy. Its minimally invasive, non-tissue removing approach makes it ideal as an office-based procedure that can oftentimes be performed under local anesthesia or with minimal sedation, which helps avoid some of the risks related to general anesthesia.

The balloons used in BSP are attached to specialized, malleable instruments that provide access to the narrow drainage pathways of the sinuses. They are made of a plastic that doesn’t contain latex, and they are used to dilate the passages open without cutting any tissue, similar to what cardiologists do to open up the blocked blood vessels in the heart (angioplasty). The balloon is inflated with high pressure, which allows it to dilate the narrow or blocked areas open (even if there is bone causing the blockage), and then is withdrawn together with the instruments and endoscope used during the procedure.

In theory, the risks of BSP are the same as with FESS: bleeding, pain, injury to the orbital walls or skull base. The minimally invasive nature of the procedure, and the malleable design of the balloon sinuplasty devices, make these complications exceedingly rare when performed by experienced surgeons.

The duration of the procedure is variable (depends on how many sinuses are being treated or the severity of the underlying condition), but in general, it can be done in less than one hour.

While BSP can be a tool of FESS under general anesthesia, BSP is designed to be performed in the office, under local anesthesia and/or minimal sedation. So general anesthesia is not necessarily required.

Recovery and downtime after BSP are significantly less than with conventional surgery. Oftentimes, patients can resume normal activity within 48-72 hours and return to work. These recovery times depend on the patient, the complexity of the procedure, and what kind of work the patient does, of course.

No. BSP is a great first line procedure for patients with chronic recurrent sinusitis. If a more severe case requires ongoing management and possibly a more extensive surgery in the OR, BSP does not compromise or “burn any bridges” for this purpose.

Talk to your sinus and nasal breathing specialist about BSP if you suffer from recurrent sinus infections and you are not getting better with medication. The evaluation will include a comprehensive examination, nasal endoscopy, and an in-office CT of the nose and sinuses. This evaluation is key in identifying appropriate candidates for this procedure.

Yes. It is also indicated in certain pediatric cases. We do not treat children at Silenso Clinic.

BSP is oftentimes covered by insurance. For patients that prefer to pay out of pocket, in office BSP offers a great alternative to way more costly surgery done in the operating room under general anesthesia.

Yes, as well as most insurance carriers.