Consumer Health Blog

Having trouble breathing? Considering sinus surgery?

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Ask your doctor if Balloon Sinuplasty is for you.

Balloon Sinuplasty is a relatively new treatment for blocked sinuses. Like traditional Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) which still remains the gold standard for sinus surgery, its goal is the restoration of normal drainage.

Procedure. Under endoscopic visualization, your surgeon guides a catheter through your nostril near your sinus opening. A flexible wire followed by a balloon is threaded through the catheter to help identify the exact location of your blocked sinus. For identification purposes, the tip of the wire frequently contains a light that illuminates your skin. Once access is confirmed, the small balloon is inflated to open up your sinus cavity and allow for drainage. The procedure is similar to angioplasty used for blocked blood vessels.

Patient Qualifications. First, a diagnosis of chronic or recurrent, acute sinusitis must be established and medical treatments exhausted. Even then, balloon sinuplasty is not for everyone. If you have polyps in your nose, it is not for you because it doesn’t allow for the removal of tissue. Neither is the procedure used for ethmoid sinuses which involve diseased areas between the eyes.

Benefits. Balloon sinuplasty is minimally invasive. Since no tissue is removed, there is little or no likelihood of bleeding or scarring, and the sinus openings are preserved. In addition, newer transillumination techniques eliminate exposure to radiation. This procedure can be performed in minutes, allowing you to go home the same day and return to work in a couple of days.

Drawbacks. No tissue can be removed or analyzed in this procedure. However, once your sinus cavity has been opened, your physician can irrigate the infected areas.


ENT surgeons at Abington Surgical Center perform both traditional endoscopic sinus surgery and the newer Balloon Sinuplasty. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Please contact your physician to learn more and to discuss which procedure would be most appropriate and beneficial for you.

Need a referral to an ENT surgeon? Please call our Referral Coordinator: 267-960-1440.

Information provided is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.