Balloon sinuplasty, or catheter dilation surgery, is a procedure used by a doctor to clear blocked sinuses. Balloon sinuplasty was approved by the FDA in 2005. Its informal name is the “smart sinus” procedure.
Balloon sinuplasty is recommended for patients with chronic sinusitis. It is usually adopted after other non-invasive conservative treatments have failed. Balloon sinuplasty is generally a simple, straightforward procedure with a very few complications. This is especially true because it does not involve the removal of tissue or bones. It is surgery nonetheless, and therefore, it carries the same risks as other sinus surgeries.
Balloon sinuplasty is performed in a hospital, ambulatory surgery center, or outpatient clinic procedure room. The procedure is handled by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist such as those at Potomac ENT. This procedure can be done under general or local anesthesia. Your doctor will discuss the anesthesia plan before performing the surgery.
During a balloon sinuplasty, your ENT doctor will fix a small flashlight to the end of a wire. The flashlight will then be inserted into your sinus cavity to brighten it. This is followed by the insertion of a flexible balloon catheter into your sinus. The balloon will then be inflated gradually to open up the sinus.
After opening up your sinus, your doctor will flush out mucus or pus in the cavity using a saline solution. You will feel a pressure drop when this happens. Although the balloon is in the sinus passage, it will restructure the bones in your sinus gently. Upon completion of this process, they will remove the balloon leaving you with a widened and cleared sinus passage.
In most cases, patients can return to their normal lives after just a day or two of the procedure. Some patients can even drive home after a balloon sinuplasty.
Up to and around a week following the surgery, you may observe some discharge or blood coming from your nose. You typically need not be afraid. It usually occurs after any sinus surgery. There might be some swelling, congestion, and fatigue. They’re all normal occurrences, and these symptoms will resolve within 5 to 7 days.
Avoid blowing your nose for at least 24 hours after a balloon sinuplasty. You should also avoid strenuous activities that will increase your heart rate for at least 7 days. Keep your head elevated when sleeping. It is also best to stay relaxed and unstressed during the first week after the procedure.
To recover quickly, follow the instructions from your doctor strictly. Usually, you’ll receive an antibiotic prescription to prevent an infection. Ensure that you take all prescribed drugs. You may be given a pain reliever, even though you may not necessarily feel any pain. Discuss with your doctor before taking any OTC pain reliever.
Finally, you may be given a fluid that you will use to rinse your nasal passages. It is a saline solution and you will use it for 3 to 7 days after the procedure. Rinsing your nasal passages with this fluid will lubricate your sinuses and enhance healing.
Raghunandhan S, Bansal T, Natarajan K, Kameswaran M. Efficacy & outcomes of balloon sinuplasty in chronic rhinosinusitis: a prospective study. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg.
2013;65(Suppl 2):314-319. doi:10.1007/s12070-011-0462-9 Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24427668/
Bolger WE, Brown CL, Kuhn FA, Levine HL. Safety and outcomes of balloon catheter sinusotomy: a multicenter 24-week analysis in 115 patients. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007;137(1):10–20. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2007.02.006.
Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17599558/