Sinusitis is a condition that causes inflammation and swelling of sinus lining. This can cause blockage of the openings and when they become blocked they can get infected. Sinusitis is a general term used to describe sinus inflammation due to a cold, allergy, or bacterial infection.
Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure in which an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor inflates a tiny balloon in the sinus opening to stretch it. The balloon is then removed, leaving the sinus passage wider.
When is a balloon sinuplasty appropriate and what are the risks and benefits associated with the procedure?
Risks Associated with Balloon Sinuplasty
The risks associated with sinus procedures, beyond simple things like bleeding, infection, or failure to fix the problem, are usually associated with the sinuses’ proximity to the brain, eyes, and other important organs. Sinus surgery, in rare cases, can come with the risk of damage to other organs, leaks in the fluid around the brain, and others. While these risks are extremely small in traditional sinus surgery, there is even less risk in balloon sinuplasty. Because balloon sinuplasty does not require any cutting, removal of tissue, or drilling, it is much safer and has faster recovery times than conventional sinus surgery.
How to Know if Balloon Sinuplasty is Right For You
First, an ENT doctor must determine that sinuses are the actual problem. Migraine, muscle strain, eyestrain, and others have to be ruled out before a balloon sinuplasty can be considered. Sometimes the doctor will use a CT scan to examine the sinuses, largely to determine whether the sinus opening is narrow.
Balloon sinuplasty is not appropriate for people with nasal tumors or polyps, because the balloon cannot remove them. Surgery is required in those instances.