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Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure

Balloon Sinuplasty is unlike other sinus surgeries in that it involves no cutting or removal of bone or tissue. The procedure uses a small, flexible balloon catheter in order to open up the blocked sinus passage ways and facilitate the drainage of mucus that has built up in the cavities. This is particularly effective in patients with chronic sinusitis symptoms.

The following are the steps involved in the balloon sinuplasty procedure:

  1. Insertion of balloon catheter into the infected sinus
  2. Inflation of the balloon to expand the sinus opening
  3. Flushing out the pus and mucus by spraying of saline to the inflamed sinus
  4. Removing the system leaving the sinuses open

The inflation of the sinus balloon restructures and widens the walls of the sinus passageway. It however, still maintains the integrity of the sinus lining. Published clinical data in major ENT journals show that the procedure is safe and effective. There have been no incidents where patients reported any adverse events during the procedure.

Limitations of Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty does not involve removal of tissue as mentioned above. However, that is also its greatest limitation. As no cutting is involved, serious risks to eye and brain are not seen. The risks however are much less compared to traditional endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS). Another limitation is that the procedure is suitable only for people with a favourable anatomy. That is one reason why ESS is still considered a gold standard of sinus treatment. You can read more about the risks of Balloon Sinuplasty here.

Another limitation is that biopsy of the tissue is not possible during the balloon procedure. Patients with polyps in the nose cannot be treated with balloons. Ethmoid sinusitis cannot be fixed with balloon procedure either. You should check with your physician regarding your anatomical compatibility, which will allow him or her to decide on whether you need balloon sinuplasty or ESS.

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