Balloon sinuplasty is an advanced surgical procedure used to treat sinusitis and other related problems through minimally invasive techniques. This involves inserting a thin endoscope into the nose without disrupting the surrounding bone and tissue. A small balloon is then gently inflated to widen blocked passageways and allow for proper drainage of sinus fluid. Patients can benefit from less bleeding and shorter recovery times with balloon sinuplasty.
Balloon dilation of sinus openings is a relatively new technique for performing sinus surgery. The concept of using a balloon to widen the sinus openings was inspired by the use of balloons to dilate arteries during angioplasty. If a balloon could be used to dilate an artery, couldn’t it also be used to dilate a sinus opening in a manner that is less traumatic than other surgical methods? The FDA approved the catheter used for this procedure in 2005. Its use has been steadily growing since then.
The technique of balloon sinuplasty consists of placing a guide wire through the nasal passage and into a blocked sinus. A balloon catheter is then threaded over the wire until the balloon is positioned across the sinus opening. The position of the catheter is confirmed with an X-ray or an illumination device. The balloon is then inflated to enlarge the sinus opening.
The technique is safe and minimally invasive since it does not result in tissue or bone removal. Without tissue removal there is less bleeding, recovery time may be reduced and there may be less pain than with other techniques. This procedure is performed using endoscopic instruments and may be used with other medical therapies or sinus surgery techniques. It does not limit future treatment options if you have progressive disease.
Balloon sinuplasty can be an elegant and less traumatic way to open sinuses, but may not be an option for all sinuses. Some situations call for a combination of techniques. Researchers and practitioners continue to develop and refine this technique.
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