Breathe Easy: How Balloon Sinuplasty Can Help Treat Chronic Sinusitis
There are plenty of things we need to survive as humans. There’s water, food, and shelter from the elements. Our most immediate need, though, is air, so it’s no wonder that restricted breathing from sinus problems is physically and mentally uncomfortable.
Most people only deal with that upsetting feeling for a short period of time. Unfortunately, though, not everyone is that lucky.
If you have struggled with your breathing for a long time, you may have chronic sinusitis. If that’s the case, a balloon sinuplasty may be able to help.
What Is Chronic Sinusitis?
To understand a solution to a problem, you need to understand the problem first. In our case, that means we need to take a closer look at chronic sinusitis.
Sinusitis refers to inflammation within the sinuses. The inflammation narrows the pathways in your sinuses, leading to decreased breathing as well as other sinus congestion symptoms.
In most cases, sinusitis comes from a sinus infection or another short-term illness. If it lasts longer than twelve weeks, though, it’s called chronic sinusitis.
In truth, chronic sinusitis is a rather general term. It refers to any type of long-term sinus inflammation. It can be the rest of uniquely resilient infections, allergen exposure, or even sinus structural issues that come from either nature or from facial injuries.
Regardless of the cause, the common thread with chronic sinusitis is that it’s long-term and it doesn’t respond to traditional sinusitis treatments.
What Is Balloon Sinuplasty?
The word “chronic” doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t do anything about your sinusitis. One of the newest and simplest ways to treat it is with balloon sinuplasty.
During balloon sinuplasty, an experienced surgeon starts by inserting a narrow tube into your sinuses through your nostrils. They guide this tube through the area of the sinuses that is restricted.
The surgeon then sends a unique balloon into that restricted area using the tube. They gently inflate the balloon to the size they want the sinus passageway to be.
When the procedure is done, the surgeon deflates the balloon and removes it along with the tube. After the balloon is gone, your sinus pathways stay open.
How Can Balloon Sinuplasty Help with Chronic Sinusitis?
People with chronic sinusitis typically go through a few stages of their condition before they reach the point of balloon sinuplasty. Their doctor may try to treat their sinusitis with a few different treatment methods. They may also use different types of imaging or exploratory procedures to better see what’s going on with their sinuses.
For many people, a balloon sinuplasty serves as an alternative to traditional, more extensive surgeries. In earlier surgeries, a surgeon would need to remove or reform tissue in the sinuses. This results in a significant and uncomfortable recovery period.
Balloon sinuplasty, on the other hand, is a minimally invasive procedure. It has an impressive track record of success but with far less post-operative pain and recovery time than most other chronic sinusitis procedures.
What Can I Expect from My Balloon Sinuplasty?
There are a few different ways your surgeon or ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) can perform a balloon sinuplasty. Depending on your needs and the details of your condition, they may be able to do the procedure in their office under local anesthesia. In other cases, you may need to go to the operating room and receive general anesthesia.
The entire procedure only takes about an hour. When it’s over, you can typically expect minimal bleeding and little pain.
You may or may not have medical packing in your nose to control bleeding and help your sinuses heal. If you don’t need any packing, you’re likely to be able to feel the improvement in your breathing right away.
After a balloon sinuplasty, the recovery is quick. If your physician uses local anesthesia, you’re likely to be back at work and back to your daily routines within two days.
If you require general anesthesia, it will take longer because your body needs to recover from the anesthesia itself and everything that goes with it. Still, the recovery period is brief compared to most surgical procedures.
With all of this in mind, it’s important to remember that every patient is unique. There are many factors that will impact your balloon sinuplasty and how quickly you heal. For the greatest chance for success, be sure to follow all your doctor’s pre-surgical and post-surgical instructions.
How Long Will My Balloon Sinuplasty Results Last?
Balloon sinuplasty is a relatively new treatment, but we already know a lot about the long-term results. Depending on your condition itself, it’s likely that the balloon sinuplasty will improve your symptoms for your lifetime. Many patients don’t need a repeat procedure.
There are, however, some cases when chronic sinusitis is progressive. If your condition progresses in the future, you may need another balloon sinuplasty or a different procedure. Fortunately, balloon sinuplasty doesn’t limit your options for future treatments.
Will a Balloon Sinuplasty Work for My Chronic Sinusitis?
As we mentioned above, every patient is unique. Not every person with chronic sinusitis will be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty. It depends on what is causing your condition as well as other health-related factors.
Ultimately, the only way to know if you’re a balloon sinuplasty candidate is to schedule an appointment with one of our sinus specialists. We’ll be able to evaluate your condition, discuss the procedure, and make a recommendation about your treatment options.
Taking the Next Steps Toward Breathing Easy
Easy breathing is one of those gifts many people take for granted. For those with chronic sinusitis, however, an effortless breath is something to be treasured. Depending on your condition, a balloon sinuplasty may make all your breaths clear and easy in the future.
To take the first step, schedule an appointment with our sinus specialists today.
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