Approved by the United States Federal Drug Administration (USFDA/FDA) in 2005, the procedure known as the balloon sinuplasty originated and swiftly became one of the most popular surgical procedures of this century. The popularity of this procedure coincides with the increasing coverage of such procedure by medical insurance companies. The balloon sinuplasty procedure aims to treat cases of severe sinus inflammation and blockage. Opening the nasal passages, the patient’s nasal membranes are cleared, and breathing and draining is increased. So, how is this procedure done, and how does it help the patient?
Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure
The balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure, involving no cutting whatsoever. Now classified as an out-patient procedure, the patient is quickly given relief, and their recovery process can begin almost immediately after surgery. The doctor’s doing this procedure aim to dilate the openings of the major sinuses to be flushed out with saline solution in order to clear the airway as well as promote healthy drainage.
(Figure 1: https://www.stlsinuscenter.com/balloon-sinus-dilation/)
During this procedure, the patient is first put under local anesthesia. The doctor then inserts an endoscope, a small, flexible tool with a camera on the end, into the patient’s nasal passage. The surgeon will then move the small balloon over the catheter and into the nasal passage. This balloon is slowly inflated inside the passage in order to open it. Once the passage/passages are open, the surgeon can them flush the area with a saline solution. Lastly, the balloon is deflated, removed, and the passages are left to drain naturally.
Risks and Recovery
This procedure has been deemed very safe and effective, and the process continues to be improved upon. Because of its low risk, its popularity has increased exponentially over the years since its approval. It has been shown to be a preferred procedure over others aiming for similar results because of the following reasons:
- Lower risk of bleeding
- Shorter recovery time
- No damage of sinus tissues and/or structures
- Fewer appointments necessary
- Reduced post-operating infection rates
However, as with any surgical procedure, there are some risks involved. Sinuplasty may involve a minor amount of bleeding and some drainage for a few days post-operation. Also, in the surgical area, the patient may experience tenderness, swelling, and congestion. Lastly, if not properly taken care of, the surgical site can become infected and cause other major problems for the patient. It is vital that the patient follows the advice of their surgeons and doctors with regards to surgical after-care in order to reduce these risks.
The recovery period for this procedure is minimal, because it is considered an out-patient procedure. The patient is often back home within a few hours of the procedure, and they are back to usual activity within 24-48 hours post-op. However, the patients are advised to not engage in nose-blowing for a few days after operation. The recovery process may include some of the minor risks that were mentioned. It is often advised that the patient sleep with an elevated head and neck area in order to promote healthy draining of the surgical site as well as to promote swift healing.
One of the major factors weighing on patients’ decisions of whether to have this surgery is based on the cost of such. Luckily, more and more insurance companies are considering this procedure non-elective, allowing those companies to cover more of the procedure’s cost. As an average, the cost of a sinuplasty with medical insurance is between $2,000 – $7,000. However, without medical insurance, this procedure costs the patient around $20,000. This can be a major financial decision to be made by each patient considering this operation.
In conclusion, sinuplasty is one of the most popular operations. Patients who undergo this procedure can expect to experience opening of their nasal passages, which can alleviate the symptoms of sinusitis including congestion, postnasal discharge, headaches, pain in sinus and eye area, ear pain, and many others. If you are interested in learning more about this procedure and how it can potentially give you relief of your symptoms, contact Camellia ENT for more information.