Spring is here. Summer is on the horizon. For many people, this means more problems with their sinuses. Over 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sinus infections. Many of these people may rejoice when they hear there is a new treatment option.
This treatment is a new surgery called: Balloon Sinusplasty. It provides all the benefits of the standard sinus surgery, yet it is less painful and does not cause as much bleeding. Plus, the patient sometimes can function normally as soon as the next day.
But first let’s look at what a sinus infection is. Our sinus cavities are built similar to a house. They are comprised of many large rooms. These rooms are connected to passages similar to small doorways and hallways. When these doorways and hallways become blocked this is when we feel the pain and the infection begins. These cavities need to stay open so mucus and fluid can flow through naturally. Pain, swelling, and pressure begin when this flow is obstructed. With time, infection and headache can occur. One can even loose their sense of smell.
If you have a sinus infection occasionally, your doctor can treat it with antibiotics . But when you start having these infections on a more chronic basis, your doctor may recommend surgery. There really is no other choice to remove the blockage.
How is Balloon Sinusplasty performed? First, the patient is put under mild anesthesia. Then the doctor will thread a catheter into the nostril and on into the sinus cavity. Attached to the catheter is a wire which is followed by a balloon. The balloon will then be inflated about a quarter of inch and will push aside any blockage, allowing the sinus cavity to flow again normally. Then the balloon will be deflated. Finally, the catheter, wire and balloon will be drawn back out of the patient’s nostril.
This procedure is similar to angioplasty, which is what they use to clean clog arteries from one’s heart.
After the procedure, patients generally experience no pain and little to no bleeding. They also begin functioning normally within the next day and begin breathing clearer. Plus, there is usually no swelling or bruising associated with Balloon Sinusplasty because the bones in the sinus cavity are so soft and malleable.
With the standard sinus surgery, patients’ noses usually have to be packed to help stop the blood flow. Recovery time with the standard surgery also usually takes up to one week.
Could Balloon Sinusplasty be right for you? Do you have chronic Sinus Infections? First, talk to your regular doctor. He/she may want to refer you to your local head, nose and throat doctor.
If both doctors believe this may be the answer, do some more research. Then if you decide to try it, remember to have someone come with you. Although, this procedure may be done on an outpatient basis, you will be given mild anesthesia, you shouldn’t drive yourself home. Plus, wear comfortable clothes. Then relax. Soon you could be breathing clearer.