Sinus infections can create pressure that makes your face hurt; it can feel as if your head’s going to explode. Clinically known as sinusitis, sinus infections are quite common, affecting an estimated 35 million Americans at least once each year.
While sinusitis is a short-term problem for most, especially during the cold and flu season, for others it is a chronic problem. For these patients who have sinus blockage virtually all the time, surgery may be necessary to open the spaces in their nasal passages.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) has long been the surgery used to achieve this. Our specialized ENT surgeons are expert sinus surgeons and regularly perform both simple and complex sinus surgeries to help chronic sinus sufferers find relief.
Our ENT surgeons are foremost surgeons in the development and use of balloon sinuplasty in Houston, Texas, as a means to alleviate the symptoms of sinusitis. They offer balloon sinuplasty in the clinic under local anesthesia but now also offers full IV sedation with Board Certified Anesthesiologists. Balloon sinuplasty can achieve results similar to surgery with little chance of complications and no recovery time, but some people are nervous about having anything done to their nose while they are awake. For those people, our ENT surgeons offer general sedation under anesthesia in a state-of-the-art office setting throughout the Greater Houston Metro Area to help alleviate the fear of having a procedure.
What is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Traditional sinus surgery or Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) removes bone and tissue to enlarge the sinus openings. The goal is to make enough room so that the sinuses can drain normally. In most cases, our ENT surgeons perform this surgery endoscopically. If this isn’t possible, an opening is made into the sinus from inside the mouth or very rarely through the skin of the face. There are a number of risks and possible balloon sinuplasty complications with this surgery, from chronic nasal drainage to a reduction or loss of sense of smell or taste. Balloon sinuplasty recovery takes from three to five days, and strenuous activity needs to be avoided for a longer period.
A new procedure called balloon sinuplasty was approved by the FDA in 2005. This minimally invasive procedure uses a tiny balloon, similar to those used to clear blocked arteries in balloon angioplasty, to dilate the blocked nasal passages.
What is Sinusitis?
The sinuses are inter-connected cavities in the skull that are normally filled with air. Their walls are lined with mucus-secreting membranes. Hairs in those membranes sweep out the mucus so it can drain out of your nose. But when those membranes become inflamed or infected, they block the nasal passages, keeping the fluid from draining. This is called sinusitis.
Normally, sinusitis is a short-term scenario such as during cold or allergy season. This is acute sinusitis. But sometimes the condition becomes chronic, where patients have the condition virtually all the time.
If sinusitis like this becomes severe, it may require surgery to remove pieces of bone and tissue blocking the nasal passages, allowing the sinuses to clear. This is called Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS). All patients that need this type of sinus surgical intervention should be evaluated by one of our allergists they are essential to long term well-being of our patients.
- The patient is made comfortable in a number of ways. Most patients choose to have the minimally invasive procedure under local anesthesia. An IV can be inserted and medication can be given to make the patient sleepy. This can be just mild sedation all the way to general anesthesia. Either way, an adequate amount of local anesthesia is given to numb the sinus areas.
- A guide catheter with an endoscope is inserted into the nostril.
- The guide catheter reaches the sinus opening, and is then advanced into the blocked sinus.
- Now a balloon catheter is placed onto the guide and is moved up to the opening of the blocked sinus.
- The balloon is slowly inflated, removing blockages and facilitating drainage.
- Saline solution is sprayed through the catheter into the inflamed sinus to flush out the pus and mucus.
- Cultures are taken to identify any pathogens present, including sensitivities to direct appropriate antibiotic therapy. The catheter is removed.
When the balloon is inflated in the inflamed passageway, it widens and instantly restructures the walls of the sinus, without harming the sinus lining in any way. This is a permanent change and results in “remodeling” of the sinuses from that point on.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty?
Patients with severe structural issues, such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps are still good candidates for balloon sinuplasty in Houston, Texas, with our ENT surgeons. The reason for this is that Allergy & ENT Associates has state-of-the-art facilities throughout greater Houston that can handle all levels of surgery in our offices. We can straighten a septum, clean out the ethmoid sinuses, remove polyps and even place complicated implants to speed recovery while still enjoying a quick and easy “in-office” experience.
Balloon sinuplasty simply enlarges normal passageways with gentle, outward pressure. When structural problems are causing the blockage, more traditional forms of surgery are often combined with sinuplasty in order to correct the problems. Also, balloon sinuplasty dilates the blocked passages, but it doesn’t remove chronically-inflamed tissue. If the key is tissue removal, traditional endoscopic sinus surgery can be combined with balloon sinuplasty in order to comprehensively treat your individual problem.
Balloon Sinuplasty versus Traditional Sinus Surgery
Although it can’t be used for all patients, balloon sinuplasty offers a much easier solution for chronic sinusitis. The procedure doesn’t involve any removal of bone, cartilage, or tissue. Because of this, there is limited downtime or loss of work. Traditional sinus surgery has to be performed with the patient under general anesthesia, and the patient will have from 3-5 days of recovery time, followed by necessary limiting of strenuous exercise or activity for a couple of weeks. However, the balloon sinuplasty procedure is performed with the patient under various forms of local anesthesia. There is minimal or no bleeding and low post-procedure pain. There are also very few restrictions on activity.
Is Balloon Sinuplasty Safe?
Balloon sinuplasty is safer than traditional sinuplasty. Because it is only minimally invasive, balloon sinuplasty doesn’t have the risks of bleeding and infection, and post-operative pain is far less. Plus, this treatment doesn’t limit any future treatments or procedures. In other words if this less invasive procedure does not work, you don’t shortcut yourself or harm anything if you wind up needing more extensive surgery in the future.
What Anesthesia is used for Balloon Sinuplasty?
When first performed beginning in 2005, balloon sinuplasty was performed in the hospital under general anesthesia. But that is changing, as procedures now can commonly be done in an office setting with the patient under only local anesthesia. Our ENT surgeons have state-of-the-art facilities throughout the city with advanced suites and uses only certified anesthesiologists for your safety and comfort. Our surgeons will discuss your options with you during your consultation and make sure your needs are taken care of.
Balloon sinuplasty is considered relatively non-invasive, meaning it does not cause much trauma to the nasal area. This makes for minimal recovery time. Most patients can return to work and their normal activities after one day. Our surgeons will make sure that all your airway needs are taken care of in the most efficient and non-invasive way possible.
Contact for Appointment
If you would like more information on our balloon sinuplasty procedure, please call our central appointment desk (713) MY-SINUS or (713) 697-4687 and schedule an appointment with one of our ENT specialists.