How Balloon Sinuplasty Can Relieve Your Sinus Issues

Chronic sinusitis affects more than 1 in every 10 Americans, making it one of the most common chronic illnesses in the nation. Sinus issues experienced by these individuals include difficulty breathing, excessive nasal congestion, headaches, facial pain, potential loss of sleep, drowsiness, lack of focus, poor energy, and mood swings. 

Balloon sinuplasty can relieve your sinus issues by opening up the blocked sinus passages, thus allowing better airflow, mucus drainage, and a release of pressure. This enables patients to breathe easier, sleep better, and experience a more pain-free daily life.

In this article, board-certified otolaryngologist and sleep medicine specialist Dr. Paul Schalch Lepe discusses balloon sinuplasty in depth.

What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

Balloon sinuplasty is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved, minimally invasive procedure to treat sinus-related conditions.

It’s performed by inserting a malleable device with a small elastic catheter which resembles a miniature balloon into the patient’s sinus passages, via the nostril.

Once in place, the catheter is slowly inflated. This gently expands the sinus passage, which opens it to facilitate improved airflow, drainage, and function and to clear any blockages. Doing this helps alleviate sinus congestion, pressure, and pain, making patients more comfortable while breathing and sleeping.

Importantly, unlike traditional sinus surgery, balloon sinuplasty is non-invasive, which means it doesn’t involve any cutting or removal of bone or tissue, and it can be performed under local anesthesia. This makes it far more appealing to patients on the basis that it has little to no downtime, with minimal risk.

What Are the Benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty?

As a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure, there are numerous benefits of balloon sinuplasty. These include:

Rapid recovery

For some patients, there is no downtime required after balloon sinuplasty. Most patients  can expect a return to normal activities within twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the procedure. Having minimal downtime reduces the chance that patients will miss any work or social event due to the treatment.

Improved sinus drainage

By expanding the sinus openings, balloon sinuplasty removes blockages and helps to improve sinus drainage and reduce congestion. Proper sinus drainage is essential for easy breathing, alleviating the symptoms associated with sinusitis, and preventing future infections.

Reduced pain and pressure

Balloon sinuplasty helps patients get relief from sinus pain and pressure by opening up blocked sinus passages, improving overall sinus function and comfort.

Low risk of complications

Not requiring any incisions, balloon sinuplasty carries a lower risk of complications compared to traditional sinus surgery. While the potential risks include infection, bleeding, and damage to the sinus tissue, these are extremely rare and generally only occur when a surgeon with inadequate experience or training performs the procedure. 

Long-lasting results

While individual results vary, most patients experience a long-lasting improvement in their sinus function and long-lasting relief from pain and discomfort.

Does Balloon Sinuplasty Cure Sinusitis?

While balloon sinuplasty does offer relief from the symptoms caused by sinusitis, it is not a cure for the underlying cause of the condition.

Many factors can cause a patient’s sinusitis to flare up, such as allergies, infections, and structural issues within the nasal cavity, such as a deviated septum.

Balloon sinuplasty doesn’t address these triggers but rather the physical obstructions these triggers cause. This helps manage symptoms and prevent future sinus infections but does not address the issue’s root causes. Close follow up and medical management of chronic sinusitis is still necessary, but addressing the obstruction of the nasal passages allows for more effective response to sinus lavage, spray medications and other medical interventions, such as allergy management

Does Balloon Sinuplasty Reduce Inflammation?

Yes, balloon sinuplasty can help reduce inflammation within the sinus.

The problem with sinus blockage and inflammation is that both compound one another, meaning an inflamed sinus is more likely to become blocked, and a blocked sinus is more likely to become inflamed.

Thus, by gently expanding the sinuses, balloon sinuplasty allows mucus to drain more effectively and air to flow more freely, reducing the overall inflammation in the area.

How Long Do Balloon Sinuplasty Results Last?

The results of balloon sinuplasty can vary from patient to patient, but many individuals experience long-lasting relief from their sinus symptoms following the procedure, with some studies reporting symptom relief for up to two years or more.

For long-lasting and even permanent results, it is necessary to address the factors discussed earlier, such as allergies, infections, and structural issues within the nasal cavity. Getting long-lasting relief from sinus issues often comes from a combination of lifestyle changes, medications, and other treatments.

Recovery and Downtime After Balloon Sinuplasty

A primary advantage of balloon sinuplasty is the short recovery time compared to traditional sinus surgery.

Most patients resume their daily schedules within twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the procedure.

You should expect mild discomfort, nasal congestion, or drainage during the first few days after the procedure; however, these symptoms are usually temporary and typically resolve quickly as the sinus passages heal.

We strongly recommend that patients follow these steps in the days after balloon sinuplasty:

Avoiding strenuous activities

It is recommended to avoid heavy lifting, vigorous exercise, and other strenuous activities for at least a week following the procedure. This precaution helps prevent any undue strain on the healing sinus passages.

Keeping your head elevated

To minimize swelling and promote proper drainage, keep your head elevated, especially when sleeping, for the first few days following treatment.

Nasal care

Gently wash your nostrils with a saline solution as directed by your healthcare provider. This practice helps keep the nasal passages clean and moist during the healing process.

Avoiding nasal irritants

Stay away from smoke, dust, and other irritants that may aggravate the nasal passages during the recovery period.

Staying well-hydrated

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help thin out mucus, promoting proper sinus drainage.

Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a rapid, uneventful recovery from balloon sinuplasty.

Balloon Sinuplasty Success Rates

Balloon sinuplasty has a high success rate with over 90% of patients saying they experienced significant improvement in their sinus symptoms. However, individual results can vary, and it is essential to discuss your specific situation with your healthcare provider.

Several factors can influence the success rate of balloon sinuplasty, including the severity of the patient’s sinusitis, the presence of any underlying medical conditions, and the patient’s adherence to post-procedure care and lifestyle recommendations. Additionally, the experience and expertise of the healthcare provider performing the procedure can also impact the outcome.

We should again point out, however, that while balloon sinuplasty has shown to be effective in alleviating sinusitis symptoms, it does not address the root causes of the condition. Patients must identify what causes their sinus issues and discuss with their medical provider on the best way to achieve long-lasting relief.

Is Balloon Sinuplasty Right for Me?

The nature of balloon sinuplasty makes it a highly suitable procedure for most candidates experiencing sinus inflammation.

Nonetheless, determining your suitability for balloon sinuplasty depends on several factors, including the severity of your sinus issues, your medical history, and the root causes of your sinusitis.

Patients must always first consult with a healthcare provider, preferably an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, to discuss their symptoms, evaluate their condition, and determine if balloon sinuplasty is an appropriate treatment option for them. This evaluation typically includes a nasal endoscopic evaluation, as well as sinus computed tomography (CT) imaging

Balloon sinuplasty is likely a suitable procedure for you if:

  • You have been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis or recurrent acute sinusitis and medications or other treatments have proved ineffective.
  • You prefer a minimally invasive procedure with a shorter recovery time compared to traditional sinus surgery.
  • Your sinus issues are mainly caused by physical obstructions or narrow sinus passages, which can be addressed by opening up the passages using balloon sinuplasty.
  • You don’t have significant nasal polyps or severe structural issues within the nasal cavity that may require more extensive surgical intervention.

Balloon Sinuplasty in San Diego, CA

Balloon sinuplasty can help relieve suffering from chronic sinusitis and other sinus diseases in a highly effective, minimally invasive manner. As the procedure doesn’t involve any cutting or excising of skin or tissue, patients enjoy rapid recovery times with little to no downtime and a drastic improvement in quality of life. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from sinus disease, learn more about balloon sinuplasty and how it can help you today and contact Dr. Schalch Lepe at (858) 925-5800 or book your consultation online.