Do you experience persistent symptoms of sinus congestion, facial pain and pressure, headache and fever, often referred to as chronic sinusitis? If so, you may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty. As an innovative in-office procedure, balloon sinuplasty was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005.
What Is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally-invasive endoscopic treatment offered by ENT physicians to treat chronic sinus inflammation. It’s a popular option for people whose symptoms don’t respond to treatments like saline rinses, nasal decongestants, corticosteroids, and antibiotics.
Being FDA-approved, its efficacy and safety are increasingly accepted and fully covered by most health insurance companies.
What Conditions Does Balloon Sinuplasty Address?
Typically, the procedure can help alleviate:
- Recurrent sinus infections that do not respond to medication
- Headaches and pressure around the eyes
- Chronic phlegm, bad breath and/or foul taste in the mouth
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Chronic nasal problems
How Is Balloon Sinuplasty Performed?
Balloon sinuplasty is typically accomplished by an ENT physicia/otolaryngologist like Dr. Paul Schalch Lepe at Silenso Clinic, his medical practice in San Diego, California.
The procedure may be performed under local or general anesthesia. Once you are comfortably anesthetized, Dr. Schalch Lepe inserts an endoscope—a thin tube with a camera and light at the end—into your blocked nasal passages.
Once the endoscope reaches the sinus cavity with the congestion, Dr. Schalch Lepe introduces a small balloon catheter into the cavity, slowly inflating it and pushing the swollen tissues open. Once fully inflated, Dr. Schalch Lepe flushes the exposed passageways and cavities with a saline rinse to move debris that may contain mucus and pus.
Finally, the balloon is completely removed so that the sinus can drain naturally, with the entire procedure typically taking less than an hour.
What Are the Benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty?
There are multiple ways to treat blocked nasal and sinus passages, as well as recurrent sinus infection. Some involve more invasive surgery in the OR, under general anesthesia. Sometimes, the disease process is not severe enough and the anatomy, as analyzed by a CT scan of the sinuses, allow for less invasive procedures that can replace surgery. The numerous benefits of balloon sinuplasty over traditional sinus surgeries include:
- There is no cutting involved with the procedure—all internal structures of the nose and sinuses are preserved
- Lower risk of bleeding and complications
- Shorter procedure duration with a significantly shorter recovery period
- Fewer post-op visits to clean out remaining debris
- No need for general anesthesia during the procedure and less post-op pain medication requirements
What Are the Side Effects of Balloon Sinuplasty?
As is the case for all medical procedures, there are risks and side effects associated with balloon sinuplasty, but these tend to be minor and include but are not limited to:
- Bloody drainage after the procedure, lasting a few days
- Tenderness in the nose, forehead, and cheeks
- Minor swelling of the nasal passages and face
- Persistent inflammation and recurrent infections after the procedure
Is Balloon Sinuplasty Safe?
Because balloon sinuplasty is much less invasive than traditional sinus surgeries, it is considered to be very safe, with the following benefits:
- Lower risk of bleeding
- Faster recovery time
- No or minimal removal of sinus tissue, bone, or cartilage.
- Fewer post-op appointments
- Reduced requirement for pain medications
- Lower risk of long term scarring, and repeat infections
Take Your Next Step Towards Your Best Nasal Health in San Diego, CA
At Silenso Clinic in San Diego, California, Dr. Schalch Lepe specializes in disorders affecting the ears, nose, and throat and is an expert in surgical and non-surgical approaches in diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, obstructive sleep apnea, as well as a range of other conditions. Every treatment offered at Silenso Clinic is cutting-edge, minimally invasive, and office-based for top-quality results and convenience.