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Balloon Sinuplasty: Sinus Surgery in Massachusetts

Approved by the FDA in 2005, balloon sinuplasty (BSP) is a procedure that helps clear a patient’s blocked sinuses. Balloon sinuplasty goes by many names, including balloon catheter dilation surgery and the “smart sinus” procedure. Unlike traditional sinus surgery, this procedure does not require any cutting or removal of bone and/or tissue. Because of this, balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure with a short recovery time.

What is Sinusitis?

Also known as a sinus infection, sinusitis is a common inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, which are the cavities that produce the mucus needed for the nasal passages to work. Healthy sinuses are filled with air, but when they become blocked with fluid, germs can grow and cause infections. There are many different types of sinusitis based on how long the symptoms last, ranging from acute to recurrent. While acute sinusitis can usually be treated with antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs, more severe sufferers may not find relief from these treatment options.

What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

Balloon sinuplasty is a type of endoscopic nasal surgery that helps reduce sinusitis symptoms and relieve sinus pressure and pain. It uses a small, flexible balloon catheter that opens blocked sinus passageways and facilitates drainage of the mucus that builds up. 

Balloon sinuplasty is a breakthrough procedure used by our surgeons to safely and effectively treat those who have not responded well to nonsurgical treatments like antibiotics, nasal steroids and over-the-counter drugs for the following sinus pain symptoms:

  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Sinus headaches
  • Congestion
  • Weak sense of smell
  • Yellow or green mucus in the nose

What To Expect with Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty dilates the openings of some or all three of your major nasal sinuses, which allows them to be cleared and drained. The procedure is typically performed by an ear, nose, and throat doctor. 

During the procedure, your doctor will insert a tiny flashlight into your sinus cavity, to allow him or her to be able to see. Next, a specially-designed slim and flexible balloon catheter is inserted into your nose to reach the inflamed sinus cavity. The balloon will slowly inflate, widening and restructuring the walls of your sinus passage. This helps drain mucus from the blocked sinus and restore normal sinus drainage with minimal bleeding. Your doctor will flush out excess mucus from your sinus cavity with saline solution, where you will feel a decrease in pressure. While the balloon is in your sinus passage, it gently restructures the bones around your sinuses. This keeps the passage widened and free of built up pressure when the balloon is removed.

After the procedure is complete, most patients can return to regular activities after 24 to 48 hours. Your doctor may advise against blowing your nose for 1 to 2 days after surgery, and to avoid strenuous activities for a week. 

You may experience some minor side effects, including tiredness, tenderness, congestion, and bloody drainage in the week following surgery. Many people find it helpful to sleep with their head elevated to promote drainage. An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory can help manage any uncomfortable symptoms after the procedure. 

The associated risks with this procedure include tissue and mucosal trauma, infection or possible optic injury.

Ideal Candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty is ideal for patients who suffer from recurring or chronic sinusitis for more than three months at a time and have failed to find relief from over-the-counter remedies, antibiotics, and corticosteroids. This procedure is not for patients whose sinusitis is due to an underlying structural issue, like a deviated septum or nasal polyps. 

Sinus Treatment in Southeast Massachusetts

If you are suffering from chronic sinus infections, Southcoast Health has the treatment options to help you breathe easier. Southcoast Health offers balloon sinuplasty to patients at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, Southcoast Surgery Center in Dartmouth, and St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford. Please contact us today for more information.