Sinusitis and Balloon Sinuplasty
General overview of the sinuses and conditions:
The sinuses are a series of interconnected cavities in the skull connected to the nasal cavities and lined with fine hairs and mucosal cells (mucus secreting cells). Their function is not yet fully understood although it has been proposed that they humidify and warm the air we breathe in and also trap any dust particles that may be inhaled. Typically, the sinuses are lined with a thin layer of mucus with any excess draining through the meatus (opening) to the nasal cavity. However, this inner lining of the sinuses may become inflamed and swell, blocking off the meatus and causing mucus to accumulate in these cavities. Sinus conditions that may cause this include:
- Acute sinusitis
- Chronic sinusitis
- Allergic rhinitis
- Deviated septum
- Nasal polyps
- Facial trauma
To relieve this condition, the meatus or drainage pathway has to be widened to allow the effective draining of mucus and alleviate symptoms related to this build up. This can be done by using medication but if this is not effective, an in-office balloon sinuplasty procedure may be used.
How the service is done:
Balloon sinuplasty or balloon sinus surgery is a fairly recent form of non-invasive sinus surgery that tackles the issue of widening the meatus without needing to use cutting tools to remove bone and tissue in the area. Whereas previously this was the case and the surgeon would cut away bone and tissue resulting in possible complications and longer recovery times, balloon sinuplasty changed this. Balloon sinuplasty follows in the footsteps of balloon angioplasty and is performed in the following way:
- The surgeon will thread in a flexible guide wire right into the affected sinus cavity.
- Once the probe is determined to be in the right place, a balloon catheter is advanced over the guide wire and positioned for inflation.
- The balloon catheter is then inflated and this pushes back the bone and tissue in the area, widening the canal.
- The catheter is removed and if successful, the canal remains this way.
- The patient is then discharged on the same day.
The biggest advantage of the procedure is that it is performed as an outpatient procedure and balloon sinuplasty recovery time is quick.
What methods are used:
When you come in for your balloon sinuplasty surgery, these are the steps you will take:
- The balloon sinuplasty doctor will explain to you how the procedure is done and give you a rundown of the possible outcome, risks, etc.
- Once you choose to go ahead with the procedure, you will need to sign a surgical consent form.
- After this the nurse will prep you for the procedure including noting down any allergies you have, medications you are currently taking, etc.
- On the day of the procedure, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area.
- The sinus surgery doctor will then perform the balloon sinuplasty, a procedure that takes less than an hour.
- Once complete, you will be prescribed for some painkillers and discharged.
Are there any side-effects:
The most prevalent side effect is that the procedure may not work as intended and the blockage resumes. Besides this, there are little to no side effects owing to the non-invasive nature of the procedure.
Follow-up treatments or next steps:
After the procedure, you will need to monitor your sinuses and note how you are feeling. Has your breathing improved? Are you still feeling stuffy? Although the procedure has a relatively high success rate, you will need to come in for a follow up visit so the sinus surgery doctor can examine your sinuses and ascertain the success of the procedure.