According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, it is “estimated that 37 million people are afflicted with sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health conditions in America.” Sinusitis is the inflammation of the mucus lining of the sinus and is often preceded by a cold or allergic attack. The primary objectives for treating sinusitis are reduction of swelling, eradication of infection, draining of the sinuses, and ensuring that the sinuses remain open. Common symptoms include pain, tenderness and swelling around the eye, cheek, nose or forehead and nasal congestion with thick, yellow or green mucus discharge and reduced sense of smell and taste. Other symptoms may include ear pain, bad breath, fatigue, nausea, teeth pain, sore throat and cough.
For acute or short-term sinusitis caused by a bacterial infection, most people recover completely when treated with antibiotics. However, chronic sinusitis occurs when symptoms last 12 weeks or longer. Chronic sinusitis is more difficult to treat and tends to respond more slowly to antibiotics. When antibiotics and medical management methods are not enough to relieve symptoms, sinus surgery may be recommended. Traditional surgery involves the removal of bone and soft tissue from the blocked sinuses, to enlarge the sinus passage and restore normal sinus drainage.
A new, minimally invasive, cutting-edge procedure that offers long term relief is now available to patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis. Balloon sinuplasty (BSP), a desirable alternative to traditional surgery, requires no cutting and no removal of bone and tissue. Rather, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon inserts a small, flexible balloon catheter, through one of the nostrils of the patient into the inflamed sinus. The balloon is then gradually inflated to enlarge the opening of the sinus and pus and mucus are flushed of the sinus cavities. Once the sinuses are cleared, the balloon sinuplasty system is removed, leaving the sinus clean and open. The whole procedure takes about an hour and the patient can usually go home the same day. Some doctors may also perform the procedure under local anesthesia in their office. Recovery time is quick with most patients returning to work and normal activities within a few days.
If you or a loved one suffers from chronic sinusitis, consult your doctor to check whether you are a candidate for balloon sinuplasty and how you can benefit from it. In addition to performing balloon sinuplasty, I specialize in the medical and surgical management and treatment of diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck.