Balloon Sinuplasty and Sinusitis Treatment

Many people struggle with sinus problems. These issues are referred to as sinusitis, which occurs when the tissue lining the sinuses becomes inflamed. Normally, sinuses are filled with air but when they are blocked they can fill with fluid, germs, bacteria and viruses, and lead to infection. Sinus blockage can be caused by the common cold, nasal polyps, allergic reactions or a deviated septum. Those with acute sinusitis can have their normal routines interrupted when they experience facial pressure and pain, nasal discharge, cough, congestion, loss of smell, fever, bad breath, tooth pain or fatigue. There are different types of sinusitis. Acute sinusitis is a sudden onset of cold-like symptoms such as a runny, stuffy nose and facial pain that does not subside after 10 to 14 days, and typically lasts four weeks or less. Subacute sinusitis is an inflammation lasting 4 to 8 weeks. Chronic sinusitis is sinus inflammation lasting 8 weeks or longer, while recurrent sinusitis is several attacks within a year.

Patients with mild to moderate chronic sinusitis or recurrent acute sinusitis may be presented with balloon sinuplasty as a treatment option. Gregory Danielson, MD is a board certified otolaryngologist with Midwest Ear, Nose and Throat explains, "Balloon sinuplasty offers a minimally invasive approach to widen and alter drainage pathways to promote the natural outflow of the maxillary, frontal and sphenoid sinuses, but not the ethmoid sinuses." Dr. Danielson says that for selected patients, balloon sinuplasty can often be performed without general anesthesia due to its minimally invasive approach. In these cases, patients may realize a faster return to normal function following the procedure. 

Balloon sinuplasty can also be used as an adjunct to traditional sinus surgery in the operating room for patients with more severe sinus disease. Balloon sinuplasty has gained acceptance as a safe and effective tool to treat selected patients with sinus inflammatory disease. According to Dr. Danielson, "Where balloon sinuplasty is seeing the biggest increase is in use for procedures that are being performed without general anesthesia and also being performed in the office setting."

In cases of more advanced disease, sinus surgery helps to relieve anatomic or inflammatory obstructions that are inhibiting the natural mucocilliary outflow, resulting in the collection of mucous/secretions which then become a ripe environment for bacterial growth. Dr. Danielson explains sinus surgery by saying, "Traditional surgery involves the removal of the structures or inflammatory tissues that are resulting in the obstruction."

During surgery, the surgeon uses an endoscope to look at a magnified view of the inside of the nose on a television monitor. This helps the surgeon remove any diseased tissue or polyps to clear the narrow channels between the sinuses. Dr. Danielson and his colleagues at Midwest Ear, Nose and Throat are pleased with medical advances which have resulted in new image guidance systems that allow for a much more complete removal of disease with a much higher degree of safety.

Article by: Jill Funke - Sioux Falls Woman Magazine