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Balloon catheter dilation surgery also known as balloon sinuplasty is surgery to clear the blocked sinuses. This is a minimally invasive procedure in contrast to traditional sinus surgery. It has been approved by FDA in 2005 recommended for people with chronic sinusitis. This is a safe and effective procedure which can be done for patients with recurrent sinus infections where the medications are not effective. This is a simple surgery where most of the patients return to their normal activities quickly as it does not involve cutting or removing the bone tissue from the nose.
Balloon sinuplasty is recommended
- When all other medical treatments of chronic sinusitis are not effective
- CT scan shows bony obstruction and not swelling
- As an addition to standard ethmoidectomy which removes the infected tissue and bone in ethmoid sinuses
- As a treatment for chronic nasal problems
- For the treatment of difficulty breathing through the nose
- Physical examination by rhinoscopy method.
- Imaging studies: CT scan or MRI can show details and pinpoint a deep inflammation or physical obstruction of your sinuses and nasal area.
- Nasal and sinus cultures: These cultures are in fact, not for diagnosing chronic sinusitis. However, these may be useful when the patient is in worsening condition and fails to treatment response. These cultures might further help to determine the bacteria or fungal infections.
- Allergy test: This method is used when the condition is initiated by allergens and may need a skin allergy test. This test is quick and safe and helps to determine the allergen responsible for patient’s nasal flare-ups.
Before the Procedure:
- Balloon sinuplasty is performed in a setting with enough patient and surgeon comfort and sufficient equipment resources.
- The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia.
- Very rarely the surgery may be performed in a clinic under local anaesthesia.
During the procedure:
- Balloon sinuplasty is performed in a hospital or in the clinic of an ENT specialist.
- During the procedure, the doctor inserts a tiny flashlight at the end of a wire into the sinus cavity.
- The surgeon then introduces a thin and flexible balloon catheter in to the sinus passage
- Once it is properly positioned, the balloon is inflated slowly. This helps to expand the sinus opening.
- Pus and mucus in the sinus cavity is removed with a saline solution.
- The balloon in the sinus passage restructures the bones around the sinuses.
- Once this procedure is complete, the balloon is removed to leave the sinus passage widened with free of built-up pressure.
After the procedure:
- The patient may return to their regular activities within a day or two. Some people even drive themselves home from the procedure.
- One week after the surgery, blood drainage may come from nose which is normal after any sinus surgery and need not worry.
- Swelling, fatigue and congestion may also be expected after sinus surgery which will be healed and free of symptoms within a week.
- The patient will be instructed not to blow the nose at all for at least 24 hours.
- Strenuous activity should be avoided to elevate heart rate for the first week and to relieve any discomfort from drainage and head should be elevated during sleep.
- The fastest way to recovery is to follow the instructions from the doctor.
- An antibiotic will be prescribed to avoid any infection.
- Need to speak to the doctor before taking any over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Finally, a saline solution will be prescribed to rinse the nasal passages for up to 7 days after the procedure to keep the sinuses lubricated for quick healing.