Recovery from balloon sinuplasty is quick and easy. Most people who have undergone this outpatient technique are back to their usual activities within two or three days.

Balloon Sinuplasty is a procedure approved by the FDA in 2005 to permanently reopen and restructure the nasal sinus area for people with severe sinusitis. Patients undergoing this procedure and recovering from it are advised not to blow their nose for 24 hours or engage in heavy physical activity.

The procedure may result in minor blood drainage and minimal swelling. There is very little pain associated with the post-operative period. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics or a steroid drug to prevent infection and control any post-operative discomfort. Each patient is also advised to sleep with their head elevated. Rinsing the nose with a saline solution may also be prescribed.

What does the procedure involve?

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure where a tiny balloon is inserted into the nasal cavities. The balloon is inserted with a catheter and it is inflated to open and restructure blocked sinuses. The balloon leaves the ostium open for drainage after it is removed. It does not harm the mucus lining of the nose. Endoscopic visualization and fluoroscopy are used to track the balloon.

There is no cutting or removal of tissue as occurs in other forms of sinus surgery.

Ear, nose and throat doctors, known as Otolaryngologists, often perform this procedure in the office or at a clinic. The average amount of time for the procedure is less than two hours. The patient may receive general or localized anesthesia. The balloon is made from a non-latex plastic which does not irritate nasal tissues.

This procedure can provide long-term relief from chronic sinusitis and it is seldom needed again. It is covered by Medicare and many insurance programs.

Who needs balloon sinuplasty?

Millions of people in the United States and other countries suffer from mild to chronic sinus problems. Many of these problems are the result of allergies that occur seasonally.

Sinus problems can occur anywhere but many people have chronic inflammation and infections that do not significantly improve with antibiotics and other medications.

The worst symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:

  • Pain in the area beneath the eyes, cheek area and temple
  • Colds and colored mucus discharge
  • Blocked nasal passages
  • A sore throat from nasal discharge
  • Continual sneezing and coughing

These symptoms, when they happen occasionally, can be treated with medication. It is the person who experiences these symptoms on a regular basis that may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty. The decision to undergo that procedure is between the doctor and patient.

The procedure is approved for adults, including seniors.

Balloon Sinuplasty Development

The procedure was developed by Dr. Vincent Honrubia at the South Texas Sinus Institute in Edinburg, Texas. The STSI expanded to the American Sinus Institute in San Antonio and Houston where this procedure is now offered. Dr. Honrubia, a board certified ENT specialist, calls the treatment Painless Sinuplasty Anesthetic Linked Method or PSALM. He has trained ENT doctors in different parts of the country on balloon sinuplasty.

Dr. Honrubia’s method gives patients mild intravenous medication to relax them but not put them to sleep. Patients are lightly sedated during the balloon sinuplasty and they recover quickly from a procedure that is not painful.

People interested in learning more about the procedure are encouraged to consult their primary care provider and or an ENT specialist. Balloon sinuplasty is now offered in many areas across the country by doctors trained in the procedures.

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