If you’re one of the many impacted by chronic sinusitis and in search of alternative treatment options, it might be time for you to consider balloon sinuplasty. It’s one of the most effective and fastest treatments for sinusitis. But it’s not suitable for everyone. Continue reading to learn who’s a good candidate for balloon sinuplasty.
When dealing with unrelenting nasal congestion and sinus symptoms, many people are unaware that their allergies or frequent colds may be a sign of chronic sinusitis. This condition causes recurring nasal congestion and sinus headaches in up to 30 percent of adults.
Symptoms that linger three months or longer and fail to resolve with over-the-counter remedies or prescription meds often require more advanced care measures. At the Southern California Sinus Institute, expert and world-renowned sinus specialist, Dr. Alen Cohen, works with patients experiencing persistent or recurrent acute sinus symptoms and have been unable to benefit from various over-the-counter sprays, rinses, decongestants or antihistamines as well as multiple oral antibiotics, oral steroids and various other prescription medications.
What Is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Colds, allergies, and COVID symptoms are similar and are a common source of confusion for many with recurrent or acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis. There are also other health conditions that cause frequent and severe sinus blockages that cannot be effectively treated with conventional remedies or medications. And while traditional open endoscopic sinus surgery can provide relief, the trade-off is moderate to severe pain and a long recovery for patients.
Fortunately, those living with chronically obstructed sinuses or nasal congestion can get relief with a minimally invasive procedure known as balloon sinuplasty. The procedure is also referred to as balloon catheter or balloon sinus dilation and is widely used today in treating breathing problems, treating sinus issues as well as removing nasal obstructions.
How Is Balloon Sinuplasty Performed?
The procedure requires an ENT and/or sinus specialist, like Dr. Alen Cohen, to insert a special balloon catheter into the nose and sinus openings. Once the balloon is in position, the specialist slowly inflates it to widen the sinuses and airways. The procedure causes tiny, microscopic microfractures in the sinus openings that release the thick mucus trapped inside. Balloon sinuplasty effectively alleviates inflammation, pain, and pressure in the nasal airways, sinuses and head. Although the balloon widens the nasal passages and sinus openings, it doesn’t compromise the structure or function of the fragile lining of the sinuses.
Advantages of the Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure
Traditional nose and sinus surgery involves surgically removing diseased sinus tissues to treat the infection and restore normal mucus drainage and breathing capacity. Though effective, conventional surgery is more traumatic for the body. Healing and recovery times are longer, and treatment is under anesthesia. Because traditional sinus surgery requires bigger incisions and wider openings, complications and residual side effects are more prominent.
Sinuplasty is the more refined version of sinus surgery done in an office setting under topical/local anesthesia. Instead of using classic surgical practices to treat the sinuses, the specialist uses balloons to open up the sinus airways instead. Balloon sinuplasty patients endure minimal inconvenience and obtain optimal relief and a quicker outcome in the right candidate when done by an expert like Dr. Alen Cohen.
Balloon Sinuplasty Risks
With surgical procedures, there’s always the risk of potential complications. Yet, balloon sinuplasty is a very safe and effective treatment for patients suffering from nasal congestion and recurrent or chronic sinusitis due to swelling in the nasal cavities that prevent adequate airflow.
Balloon sinuplasty offers several advantages over traditional sinus surgery, including:
- Reduced pain because there’s less nasal tissue manipulation and trauma
- Quicker recovery times because there are no incisions or noticeable trauma
- Minimal bleeding because there are no incisions
- Low complication risk because there are no incisions
- FDA approved and usually qualify for health insurance reimbursement
- Proven to alleviate nasal congestion and sinusitis symptoms
Balloon sinuplasty is recommended for patients who have used medical therapeutics in the past but were unable to get adequate symptom relief. Balloon sinuplasty is a safer, more efficient, and less invasive treatment alternative to endoscopic sinus surgery.
There are circumstances where alternative treatment measures may be more beneficial to patients with severe nasal abnormalities like an obstructed, collapsed, or deviated septum, collapsed nasal valve/walls, or various other issues.
Who Is the Best Candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty?
Sinus infections and symptoms don’t always respond favorably to remedies or medication. Balloon sinuplasty is ideal for those cases. Balloon sinuplasty can be done in the office. Patients receive local anesthesia for comfort. The procedure usually only takes 20-30 minutes in Dr. Cohen’s expert hands.
Although the treatment is not suitable for everyone, it is helpful for those suffering from sinus issues and chronic nasal congestion. It is used alone or in combination with in-office submucus resection of the turbinates as an alternative treatment when required. It can also be combined with other procedures when necessary. Patients notice dramatic improvements after undergoing the balloon sinuplasty procedure.
How Do I Know If I Need Balloon Sinuplasty?
You could benefit from balloon sinuplasty or nasal/sinus surgery if your sinus symptoms become chronic and no longer respond to remedies or standard treatment. There is no cure for sinusitis. The condition is not always caused by infection and is common in individuals with polyps or abnormalities within the nose. The cure for sinus symptoms caused by nasal tissue, bone, and cartilage abnormalities is surgery for repairs or reconstruction. Patients whose sinusitis symptoms persist after three months should consider seeing a sinus specialist, like Dr. Alen Cohen, to learn treatment options.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be a good candidate for balloon sinuplasty.
- Have you had limited relief with home remedies, nonprescription, and prescription medications?
- Do your symptoms last approximately three months or longer at a time or are they recurrent more than 3 times a year?
- Do your symptoms impact your ability to breathe, sleep, think or function normally?
- Have you seen an ENT for sinus treatment in the past?
Chronic sinusitis can mimic other health conditions and cause similar symptoms. The only way to know for certain is to get a diagnosis. If you’re experiencing persistent sinus infections and are ready to get relief, meet with Dr. Alen Cohen to learn more about your condition and if you’re a good candidate for balloon sinuplasty. Sadly, not everyone qualifies, but alternative minimally invasive sinus and nasal congestion procedures are available.
For more information about balloon sinuplasty or alternative sinus treatments, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Alen Cohen at the Southern California Sinus Institute.