Balloon Sinuplasty – Is It Right For You?

Balloon sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty could be an option if your are experiencing severe sinus troubles.

April 15, 2017 by Dr. John Howard II, MD

Have you been considering balloon sinuplasty as a treatment for your sinus problems?

 Do you have constant and chronic sinus problems?  Are you struggling to breathe clearly?

For people with chronic sinus conditions, balloon sinuplasty can end up being the perfect solution.

The procedure isn't for everyone but can serve as an excellent option for people who have had limited success with sinus medications.

If you're suffering from sinus problems, you may be wondering if balloon sinuplasty is right for you. There are many things to consider before deciding to choose to undergo a balloon sinuplasty.

This article will help you and give you a thorough overview and a better understanding of the procedure and whether you are someone who could benefit from it.

Below we'll discuss why you may or may not choose to undergo this procedure.

Who Needs Balloon Sinuplasty

Not all people need balloon sinuplasty. Sinus problems that have persisted for only a short length of time may be better treated with medications such as antibiotics.

If you are a chronic sufferer of sinus problems, however, and your symptoms have persisted for longer than 12 weeks, you may be a good candidate for the procedure.

If you have had sinus problems for an extended amount of time you may have what is known as Chronic Sinusitis. Chronic Sinusitis is a condition which consists of a number of symptoms that have lasted for an extended time.


Sinusitis occurs due to inflammation occurring in the sinus lining. This can lead to swelling and cause sinus openings to become blocked. Sinusitis can lead to pain and discomfort.

While sinusitis symptoms aren't life-threatening they can be highly inconvenient and uncomfortable. They can interfere with everyday life and can make daily tasks more difficult.

Sinusitis can be acute and last 4 weeks or less or it can last for a lengthy period and extend past 12 weeks.

If symptoms have persisted for a long time and are starting to get worse it may be time to undergo a sinus surgery or procedure.

Sinusitis is marked by a combination of various symptoms. These symptoms can include the following - 
  • Sinus pressure and congestion
  • A nasal obstruction or blockage
  • Fever
  • Puss in the nasal cavity
  • Facial pain
  • Swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Loss of the sense of smell or taste
  • Sinus Headaches
  • Yellow or green mucus nasal discharge or drainage
  • Teeth pain

Safety Concerns

Compared to other sinus surgeries and procedures, balloon sinuplasty is very safe and complications are rare.

The operation causes only minimal bleeding and post-operation pain. Most people experience a quick recovery.

Pro Tip

Balloon sinuplasty is fast and effective, and most patients are able to go to work very soon after the procedure.

As an outpatient operation, many patients drive themselves home minutes after the procedure. Full recovery is often experienced after 2 days.

What To Expect From Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty is a surgery and a procedure that works to dilate sinus openings, widen the walls of the sinus passageway, and restore normal drainage and sinus functions.

The devices and the procedure were first cleared by the FDA for approval in 2005.

In addition to a hospital-based operating room procedure, several years ago the procedure was also approved for office-based settings as well.

The procedure opens and expands the sinus cavities through the use of a small balloon. The balloon is operated remotely and enlarges while inside the sinus cavity in order to open the sinuses up again.

The balloon creates microcracks in the bones which expand the passageway. When the bones heal again after the operation they reform in a wider configuration.

This procedure allows the space to remain wider after the procedure has completed and the bones have healed again.

The procedure is a less invasive treatment which functions as an alternative to other sinus surgeries, such as the functional endoscopic sinus surgery.

It can provide long-term relief for sinus issues and many patients report that no sinus issues have occurred for months and years after the procedure.

In some cases, symptoms can reoccur after surgery, but it depends on the type of sinus conditions that you have.

There are no records of the procedure changing the appearance of the nose or have caused aesthetic problems.

Recovery time can be quick and many patients drive themselves home about 15 minutes after the procedure if they have not had pre-sedative medicine. Most patients fully recover in about 2 days time.

Benefits of the Procedure

As an alternative to functional endoscopic sinus surgery, balloon sinuplasty is a great procedure that will work well for many people.

It is less risky than the many alternative surgeries for dealing with sinus issues. There is no cutting or removal of the bone or soft tissue during the procedure.

The operation can be used in conjunction with other treatment options and medications. The procedure also doesn't limit the ability to undergo future operations, if necessary.

Success rates are high with the procedure and most people who undergo the process don't have sinus troubles after checking 2 years later.

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Performed under local anesthesia and possibly some light anti-anxiety medicine. It is an outpatient procedure.  There is usually a small amount of post-operation pain.

Limitations of the Procedure

The procedure can work for many types of chronic sinusitis conditions, but not all people will benefit from the procedure.

In addition, not all sinus problems have a chance of recurring regardless of what type of treatment is performed.

People with the following conditions have been excluded from clinical studies in the past -
  • Eosinophilic disease
  • Fungal sinusitis or severe polyposis
  • Severe cases of septal deviation
  • Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (or Samter's triad)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Facial trauma

While there are limitations of the operation, many people with chronic sinus conditions can gain long-lasting benefits from the procedure.

Testing and Treatment at Hampton Roads ENT - Allergy

ENT Doctor Gloucester, VA

Hampton Roads ENT - Allergy has a roster of professional providers and specialists can help you pinpoint your sinus problems.

An ENT Allergy specialist can help you determine if balloon sinuplasty is right for you.

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About The Author
Dr. John L. Howard II MD

Dr. John Howard II, MD

Dr. John Howard II, MD is an otolaryngologist with Hampton Roads ENT - Allergy in both Gloucester, VA & Williamsburg, VA.  

I particularly enjoy treating pediatric patients as well as helping those with nasal and sinus issues.  Some of my most rewarding work has been helping those facing the challenge of a new cancer diagnosis.  As your doctor, I will work with you to understand your ENT concerns and to develop a personalized treatment plan.