Written by Kate Quero, Clinical Application Specialist at Easmed
If you have been suffering from Chronic Sinusitis, you probably would have had several trips to GPs and specialists. The doctors might have already given you several courses of different medications, and they might even have suggested surgery already. For one reason or another, you may still be unsure of what you have to do next. Well, there may be an option that is suitable for you.
While taking oral medications such as steroids, antihistamines, and antibiotics for prolonged courses would be the most common option for a lot of people, we will also need to consider their anatomical structure in order to more properly and permanently address the problem. There are instances when our natural anatomy would be the one causing our sinuses to be blocked and mucous to be trapped inside, which leads to the inflammation. Given this, the probable next choice for someone who has exhausted all medications, is to consider surgery. But of course, not a lot of us will be willing to readily undergo this form of treatment. The concern may stem out from a number of reasons such as downtime (not being able to go out or work while recovering), financial aspect (too expensive), bleeding, and pain. So what now? What can be done? Fortunately, with more researches, clinical studies, and much scientific advancement, more and more options are being made available to help those suffering from chronic sinusitis.
Have you heard of balloon sinuplasty?
Balloon sinuplasty as the name suggests, works by inserting a balloon into the sinuses and then inflating the balloon through the sinus opening to help them drain and stay clear, allowing you to breathe more properly. The balloon’s pressure, when inflated, will widen the sinus ostia by causing a very minor break on the surrounding bone, hence changing the anatomy minimally, but working drastically to relieve your symptoms.
How is Balloon Sinuplasty done?
Balloon sinuplasty is considered minimally invasive and could actually be done in clinics by your trained ENT specialists under local anaesthesia. Before the procedure, your doctor will administer anaesthetics so that you are comfortable and feel no pain during the procedure. During the procedure, together with a tiny camera, your doctor will insert a balloon catheter through your nostrils into your sinus cavity and gently dilate it. Some patients feel slight pressure but rarely any pain. This allows your sinus passages to be widened. Your doctor may also flush out mucus and pus in your sinus cavity with a saline solution.
This is a very great option for patients who are hesitant to undergo surgery but are seeking to end their daily intake of pills, tablets and syrups. Balloon sinuplasty will help preserve most of your natural anatomy with the benefits of clearing your sinuses thereby reducing the symptoms of blocked nose, facial pain, nasal discharge, and headache.
How long is the downtime for Balloon Sinuplasty?
The downtime for balloon sinuplasty done in the clinic can even be as low as zero to two days. This is because a pure balloon sinuplasty will not involve any tissue or bone cutting. There will be no sutures or stitches needed. Local anaesthesia and decongestant are administered to the area to minimize discomfort and pain. There are some studies conducted that revealed that most people who underwent balloon sinuplasty just felt pressure or numbness of the sinus area during the procedure, instead of pain.