How does balloon sinuplasty work? Will it work for you? Are you a candidate?
If you live in Indiana, especially parts of Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield or Noblesville you or someone you know may suffer from Chronic Sinusitis. The prevalence of chronic sinusitis was looked at in 2019 with estimates of between 5% and 12% of the general population being affected nationally. Unfortunately in Indiana we are much worse.
In general patients tend to start their first symptoms of the disease in their late teens and then the condition becomes more common as people get older. Even those who are in their 70s and 80s can begin to have chronic sinus complaints develop after being previously healthy their entire lives. Before we get to how balloon sinuplasty works, let talk about chronic sinusitis.
What are the symptoms of chronic sinusitis?
Symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:
- Pain – the most common areas of pain associated with Chronic sinusitis are in the face, sinuses, back of the eyes, ear, and/or forehead
- Nasal Symptoms – these include nasal congestion, distorted sense of smell, itching, loss of smell, and/or runny nose
- Systemic Whole Body Symptoms – these include significant fatigue, fever, or malaise
- Symptoms localized to the Face – this would include facial tenderness or swelling
- Other common complaints and symptoms – these include sinus pressure, headache, inflammation of the ear, mouth breathing, thick mucous or phlegm, pus when blowing, sleeping difficulty from sinus pain and pressure or nasal obstruction, and/or throat irritation from drainage (post-nasal drip)
What can I do if I start developing chronic sinusitis symptoms?
One of the most important things you can do early on is recognize that you are developing chronic sinusitis symptoms and do things immediately to try to reverse your symptoms. After symptoms are present daily for more than 2 to 3 months they will sometimes not be reversible with oral medications and/or nasal sprays. At that point your anatomy begins to change and you may need a procedure like balloon sinuplasty to get you back on the road to good health. Let’s look at some common medications that can be used to help improve your sinusitis symptoms before they become chronic.
- Oral Antibiotics – These are frequently prescribed by urgent care, primary care and ENT’s who do not specialize in treating chronic sinusitis. They are definitely beneficial in the short run but over-use can cause problems and be counterproductive to good health. It’s why I see so much antibiotic resistance in my practice now and over-use can negatively effect your health in other ways. Antibiotics are something I write about frequently and knowing the risks and benefits of their use is important. In my practice much of my treatment is based off of a nasal cultures and sensitivities which is one advantage of seeing a sinus specialist like me over any other doctor.
- Anti-Inflammatory Treatments – These are your most effective class of medications to try to reverse and prevent chronic sinusitis. When most people hear the word anti-inflammatory they probably think about aspirin, Advil, Aleve, or Motrin. Those are great at blocking inflammation in your joints but not the kind of inflammation that occurs in your nose when you have chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is caused by inflammation in your nasal mucosa and that is primarily triggered by histamines and leukotrienes. There are other chemicals called inflammatory mediators that are released from your body that trigger inflammation and all of these combined create a cascade of swelling and inflammation that if left unchecked will lead to chronic symptoms. When you start down the path of developing chronic sinusitis symptoms you should take a serious look at beginning a regimen of treatment with either oral antihistamines, nasal steroids, or both.
Sometimes these medications don’t work and things will progress. When your chronic sinusitis symptoms begin causing a significant impact on your quality of life, you may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty.
How Does Balloon Sinuplasty Work?
Now to our key question. When you have chronic sinusitis symptoms lasting longer than two to three months and have failed common medications used to manage symptoms, you may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty.
This year’s Indiana Allergy and Sinus Season is in full force. Unfortunately, the typical Indiana Summer and Fall can have plenty of triggers from poor air-quality, ozone, and indoor and outdoor allergens. If you suffer from allergies or have general inflammation triggered by other environmental exposures like local farming, these fluctuating air-quality issues can play havoc on the sinuses. If the Summer and Fall was bad for you last year you may be hitting this season with a significant amount of chronic inflammation and chronic symptoms.
This chronic inflammation leads to chronic swelling of the nasal mucosa which then triggers chronic sinusitis symptoms and chronic infections. After several months of symptoms, the anatomy in the sinus spaces of the nose can begin to permanently change so that medications such as antibiotics, nasal steroid sprays and oral allergy medications no longer offer relief. If you continue to have trouble with your sinuses that never improves to normal things may have transitioned into chronic sinusitis because the blocked nasal sinus drainage pathways close off and never fully re-open.
How does balloon sinuplasty work? Balloon sinuplasty offers a minimally invasive office based minor procedure that gently re-opens the blocked nasal sinus drainage pathways to restore normal health to the sinuses. By re-opening the sinus passages the body is allowed to heal itself and there is also the added benefit of allowing medication delivery to the area through the re-opened sinus drainage pathways. Balloon Sinuplasty offers a simple solution to a common problem in Indiana that can significantly impact your quality of life.
If you have chronic symptoms of sinusitis that have been present for longer than two to three months and medications have not improved things, you may be a candidate for this innovative office sinus procedure. Balloon Sinuplasty has been FDA approved for over a decade. Over the last 12 years I have performed thousands of these procedures in the office setting with excellent results and it can typically be performed in 15 minutes. As a Center of Excellence, most of my patients see a quick return to normal activity and almost no down-time after their office-based treatment.
How does balloon sinuplasty work? Now that you have a better understanding of how balloon sinuplasty works, start the road to better sinus health and see if you are a candidate for treatment. I am available for an immediate free evaluation HERE.
Brad Bichey, MD