1301 20th Street, Suite 300, Santa Monica, CA 90404

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Balloon Sinuplasty – Is it Right for You?

Sinus infections affect close to 35 million people each year and are one of the most common complaints we see here at Southern California Head & Neck. If you have a sinus infection you may experience a combination of nasal congestion, nagging facial pain and pressure, nasal drainage, and a decreased sense of smell. You may also have post-nasal drip, fever and fatigue. It is important for you to see us in our office to confirm that you have a sinus infection so that we can determine what type of sinusitis you have in order to treat you best.

Types of Sinus Infections

  • Acute sinusitis – infection lasting less than 4 weeks
  • Subacute sinusitis – infection lasting between 4 weeks and 3 months
  • Chronic sinusitis – infection lasting more than 3 months

Management Options

Most episodes of acute sinusitis are caused by viral infections and about 85% of patients with acute sinusitis will actually have a reduction or complete resolution in symptoms within 7-15 days WITHOUT antibiotics. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen over the course of 7-10 days you may be suffering from an acute bacterial sinusitis and may require oral antibiotics in addition to other supportive therapies including nasal saline and steroid sprays.

If you have chronic sinusitis you likely have longer lasting symptoms (>3 months). We usually try to manage your infection with medications initially. This can include a longer course of antibiotics, oral steroids, nasal steroid sprays and nasal irrigations. However, if these fail to work or if you continue to have recurrent acute sinus infections, then a surgical procedure may be your best option.

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)

Traditionally, functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) has been the treatment of choice for patients with frequent bouts of acute sinusitis or for patients with chronic sinusitis that is not sufficiently treated with medications. This outpatient procedure involves the use of endoscopes and surgical instruments to physically remove bones and soft tissue that are obstructing your sinuses in order to allow the sinuses to drain properly. Although invasive and requiring general anesthesia, FESS is often the best and most definitive option for patients with chronic sinusitis or recurrent acute sinusitis.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Another newer and less invasive option offered here at Southern California Head & Neck is balloon sinuplasty. This outpatient procedure is performed under local anesthesia in our office and involves a balloon catheter that is inserted into the sinus cavity and inflated, expanding the sinus opening and widening the walls of the nasal passages to aid in normal sinus drainage. Because this option is minimally invasive, requires less time, and is performed under local anesthesia, recovery time is usually much quicker when compared to FESS and often less than 24 hours. Generally, balloon sinuplasty may not be the best option for you if you have severe chronic sinusitis or nasal polyps, but for those with less severe disease balloon sinuplasty offers a convenient and low-risk treatment option.

Please contact us today if you are having sinus issues. We look forward to caring for you.

By: Abbas Anwar, MD