There are at least 30 million Americans affected by chronic sinusitis each year, according to the Medscape website. Living with a constantly blocked nose and headaches impacts patients' quality of life and may reduce their ability to work. Oral medications to relieve blocked sinuses carry side effects of inducing drowsiness and reducing the patient's ability to think clearly. If the sinus infection becomes severe, oral agents stop being effective. For those patients, sinus surgery may be the only hope of relieving their symptoms. Before 2005 Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) performed in a hospital setting was the only alternative for a surgeon to widen the sinus openings with rigid instruments and open a way for drainage to flow into the nasal passages instead of blocking the sinus cavities. However, new technology to improve patient care was developed since then, and now Dr. Robert Youkilis, Dr. Jeffrey Beach, and Dr. Seth Bruggers at the Northside ENT can help patients achieve the same relief by using balloon catheter dilatation technique under local anesthesia right in their rooms.
Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure
Balloon Sinuplasty is surgery of the paranasal sinuses performed as a treatment for patients with chronic sinusitis who cannot relieve their symptoms by oral medications alone. It is a minimally invasive technique that preserves both bone and tissue of the nasal cavity. A soft catheter is inserted into the sinus openings, and by inflating the balloon, the surgeon can remove the diseased structures that block the openings to the sinus cavities. As the surgery is minimally invasive, patients can be treated out of the hospital in the doctor's treatment room. It is a safe and effective procedure that opens and enlarges the natural drainage pathways from the sinus cavities into the nasal passages.
As the procedure is done under local anesthesia, a patient can return home on the same day. Patients should not blow their noses for 24 hours. Patients can return to work within a couple of days, but they should not perform any strenuous activity for at least a week. The nasal discharge may be blood-stained immediately after the procedure but should change to clear within a day. Any active bleeding should be reported to the doctor immediately. The patient should sleep with the head elevated for a week after surgery to prevent drainage pooling inside the nasal cavity. The doctor will also prescribe painkilling medication and antibiotic treatment. The patient should follow instructions on how to take them.