Sinus infections are usually the result of mucus becoming trapped in the sinuses – hollow cavities located throughout the face — due to inflammation from a cold or allergies. While most sinus infections pass on their own, chronic or recurring infections require intervention.
A commonly recommended treatment option for chronic sinus infections is balloon sinuplasty. (And no, it has nothing to do with the balloons you’d find at Brazos Valley Fair & Rodeo!)
What Is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Balloon sinuplasty is a procedure wherein the sinuses are dilated and flushed out using a balloon catheter and saline solution in order to treat current infections and prevent future infections.
For the procedure, the first step is to sedate you so that you are comfortable. Local or general anesthesia may be used. You’ll discuss which is a better option for you with your doctor in advance.
Next, an endoscope is advanced through the nostrils into the sinuses. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end so the doctor can see what they’re doing.
Finally, the balloon catheter is advanced into the sinuses. The balloon is slowly inflated to open the nasal passages, then the sinuses are flushed with a saline solution. This helps clear debris such as mucus.
You should experience noticeably better breathing when you wake up.
What Is Recovery Like for Balloon Sinuplasty?
Most people are able to return home within a few hours of the balloon sinuplasty procedure and resume most normal activities within 24 to 48 hours. There are some exceptions to this, including:
- Avoiding blowing your nose for one to two days after the procedure.
- Abstaining from strenuous activities for at least a week following the procedure.
- Sleeping with your head and neck elevated to assist with drainage.
You’ll likely need to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to help manage discomfort.
What Are the Advantages of Balloon Sinuplasty?
In most cases, symptoms improve within three to six months of the procedure, and there are no unexpected side effects.
There are many ways in which balloon sinuplasty is advantageous over traditional sinus surgery. Some benefits include:
- No intended damage to or removal of sinus tissues, bone or cartilage.
- Lower risk of bleeding.
- Fewer post-op visits.
- Lower need for general anesthesia and pain medications.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with the sinus experts, call Texas ENT & Allergy today.