Chronic sinusitis can be a literal pain. It’s a common condition in the modern world, initially triggered by allergies or a cold and then becoming a chronic problem. Diagnostic symptoms include a yellow or green discharge from the nostrils or down the throat, difficulty breathing through the nose, a reduced sense of smell, facial pain, tenderness and swelling around the nose, cheek, eyes and/or forehead. It can also cause a cough, sore throat, bad breath, fatigue, nausea, irritability and pain in the ear and/or upper jaw.

Traditional Sinus Surgeries

In severe cases of sinusitis, surgery is often recommended. Traditional sinus surgery consists of one of three procedures, depending on the problem areas:

  • Maxillary antrostomy surgery is for the sinus at the back of the cheekbones.
  • The Ethmoidectomy procedure is for behind the eyes and the bridge of the nose and powered sinuplasty.
  • The Turbiniplasty surgery is for blockage caused by enlargement of the nasal turbinates (small structures within the nose that humidify and cleanse the air) or a twisted nasal septum.

Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure

The traditional sinus surgeries are established and effective, but a new procedure called balloon sinuplasty has now entered the realm of effective treatment options. This is a form of endoscopic surgery in which a balloon is inserted into the sinuses and then expanded to clean out mucus and expand blocked openings.

How to choose between the two:

So, which is the best procedure: traditional surgery or balloon sinuplasty? For many patients, balloon sinuplasty is a superior choice.

Traditional surgery requires anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks of time off work. With balloon sinuplasty, the patient can often return to work within one to two days. Both procedures can be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. With the Honrubia Technique for balloon sinuplasty, general anesthesia is used to help ensure the patient stays relaxed through the procedure and reduce complications. Balloon sinuplasty is generally done in a doctor’s office, rather than a hospital or surgical center.

When undergoing traditional surgery bone and/or tissue are often removed. This results in the lengthy – and sometimes painful – recovery time required.  Balloon sinuplasty works with the natural openings and thus causes less damage and has a much lower risk of scarring. Because of the bleeding, traditional surgery often requires uncomfortable packing of the nose afterward, which is not necessary with balloon sinuplasty.

However, not all patients are best served by balloon sinuplasty. If you have a deviated nasal septum or enlarged polyps, you will need traditional surgery to correct the problem.

Traditional surgery also has a lower chance of the recurrence of sinusitis symptoms, which can return after between six months and three years with balloon sinuplasty. This means there is a higher chance that the procedure may have to be repeated, but due to its minimally invasive nature, this is not a problem for the body. Likewise, traditional surgery may also have to be repeated due to a variety of factors.

It’s worth noting that neither form of surgery cures sinusitis. Treatment with drugs will still be needed, but symptoms are significantly reduced with both procedures. Before and after surgery, sinusitis should be managed by treating any allergies that might be present and, in some cases, treating the patient for acid reflux.

Contact the American Sinus Institute

The American Sinus Institute specializes in balloon sinuplasty and the Honrubia Technique. If you are experiences recurring or chronic sinus problems, please consult with us to determine if balloon sinuplasty would work for you.