What exactly is a Balloon Sinuplasty?

Video of Ballon Sinuplasty Schematic

Many patients have questions about the new method of dealing with chronic sinus procedure involving balloon sinuplasty. This method has been around for the past few years, and is designed to provide relief from chronic sinus issues for patient without the need for more traditional ways of endoscopic sinus surgery.

In a more traditional sinus surgery procedure, with the use of endoscopic techniques, micro-debriding instruments are used intranasally (through the nostril) in order to open up the sinus passages. Typically, this involves removing small bits of mucus membranes as well as the bony narrowing around the sinus openings in order to gain better access into the sinus passages. This will allow the patient to have more easily drainable sinus passages that should have less issues with blockage and obstruction during future sinus infections. Most patients can be discharged home the same day, and they might experience a couple of days worth of bleeding from the side of the excisions.

Borrowing the concept from angioplasty performed for heart disease and other vessel diseases, the opening of the sinuses can be alternatively made wider open using balloon techniques. This can be performed with general anesthesia in an operating room setting, or under local anesthesia in an otherwise comfortable patient.

Balloons that are deflated are endoscopically threaded into the normal opening of the sinus passages. Once in a proper place, the balloons are inflated to the desired pressure and diameter to stretch open the sinus openings. This technique is most useful for the frontal sinuses (the sinuses above the eyes), the maxillary sinuses (the sinuses below the eyes) and the sphenoid sinuses (the sinuses behind the eyes). Opening the sinuses in this matter requires much less excision and less bleeding. This will also reduce the recovery that the patient should expect after having the procedure done. Please refer to the video above for a schematic of the procedure.

Of course, not every single patient is a candidate for a balloon procedure versus a traditional procedure. Patients with extensive polyps will have to have a debridement of the polyps as part of their management, and would benefit more from a traditional surgery. Additionally, certain patient’s sinuses are so blocked up that a balloon cannot be successfully introduced into the draining passages even in its deflated state. These patients would also benefit from having a traditional procedure to open up the sinuses for them.

A decision about optimal candidacy for a balloon procedure is made by your Ear, Nose, and Throat surgeon. Your physical exam as well as findings from a CT scan can better guide this decision. It is best to be seen by your Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist to discuss your candidacy for a balloon procedure.

At the present time, the balloon equipment is manufactured by two different companies; both of them are FDA approved. There are a couple of more companies with instrumentation, there is yet pending FDA approval. Dr. Namdar is well versed with the use of both of these manufacturers’ equipment, and can tailor your specific needs to whatever instruments might be best in your individual case.

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Posted in: Nose

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