Your sinuses comprise a connected system of hollow cavities in your skull. They are lined with mucosa, which is a soft, pink tissue. Normally, your sinuses are empty and may have a thin layer of mucus. However, fungi, bacteria, viruses, etc., can infect the sinus cavity, causing inflammation. Apart from sinus surgery, there is an alternative treatment you can consider for your child. It is called balloon sinusplasty. At ENT for Children, we have completed many balloon sinusplasty procedures throughout our years of operation.
What Is Balloon Sinuplasty?
To understand balloon sinuplasty, you have to first know what traditional sinus surgery is. The goal of sinus surgery is to improve the drainage capabilities of your sinuses. They remove the blockage and drain excess mucus. This may be achieved via the removal of:
- Damaged, swollen, or infected tissue
- Polyps inside the nose
- Certain bone areas to create a wider opening for mucus drainage
- Any foreign object that blocks the sinus passage (cases of foreign objects blocking the sinuses are common in children)
When it comes to sinus surgery, there are two major options:
- Traditional sinus surgery
This type of surgery may be facilitated if brain abscess, infection of the facial bones, or development of pus in sinuses have occurred. Doctors will usually make an opening into the sinus through the skin of the face or inside the mouth.
- Endoscopic surgery
This is a less-invasive procedure that removes small amounts of bone that are blocking the sinus openings. Doctors have also used this type of surgery to remove growths in the sinus. Oftentimes, a thin, light-weight tool called an endoscope is inserted through the patient’s nose. It shows what’s blocking the sinus passageways, and allows the doctor to remove whatever is blocking them.
Now, unlike traditional sinus surgery, balloon sinuplasty does not require any removal or cutting of tissue and bone. BSP usually utilizes a flexible and compact balloon catheter to widen blocked sinus passageways. This helps facilitate drainage of the mucus that may have built up over time. Here are four simple steps to keep in mind:
- Insertion of a balloon catheter into the inflamed sinus
- Balloon catheter is inflated to open up the sinus opening
- Mucus and pus is removed from inflamed sinus by spraying a saline solution
- The balloon catheter system is removed and the sinuses remain open
What Are The Benefits Of Balloon Sinuplasty?
Here is a quick look at the major benefits of balloon sinuplasty technology. They include:
- Minimally invasive
- Faster recovery time
- Reduced loss of blood
- Does not limit one’s future treatment options (if you have progressive disease)
What Are The Risks Associated With Balloon Sinuplasty?
Current clinical data publications do not state any serious adverse events that were attributable to this treatment. However, there may still be certain risks as the procedure involves the use of surgical instrument. Results also vary from patient to patient. It is pertinent that you speak to your child’s doctor about their condition to find out if balloon sinuplasty system is right for them.
What Does The Post-Care Entail?
As mentioned, the procedure is minimally invasive and can be facilitated in an outpatient setting. A majority of patients can return to their normal activities within 24 hours after surgery.