If you’re bothered by recurrent sinus infections and medication doesn’t seem to help, a balloon sinuplasty might be the answer. We spoke to Mr Abbad Toma, leading consultant ear, nose and throat (ENT) and facial plastic surgeon based in London, about what the procedure involves and the success rate.
What is balloon sinuplasty?
Balloon sinuplasty (BSP) is a safe and effective procedure for sinusitis patients who:
- are not responding well to medications, and
- have either had a sinus infection for more than 12 weeks or have 4 or more sinus infections each year.
Balloon Sinuplasty is a minimally-invasive (keyhole) procedure performed using a device to enter the nasal sinuses. The aim is to improve the ventilation and drainage of these sinuses.
How does balloon sinuplasty work?
The BSP involves inserting a 1mm balloon-holding guide into the affected sinus. Once the insertion is confirmed, the balloon is inflated to 4mm and removed after a few seconds.
The sinus can then be left to ventilate, or it can be irrigated (washed) to clear any secretions or infection depending on the condition being treated.
The procedure takes only 30 minutes to complete, and only involves one or two days off work.
Why is balloon sinuplasty done?
Patients who will benefit from balloon sinuplasty are those with:
- Recurrent acute sinusitis (sinus infections).
- Barotrauma: severe headaches and/or facial pain when the atmospheric pressure changes such when as flying or SCUBA diving.
A balloon sinuplasty can also act as a navigator to identify and treat nasal sinuses in patients who may have had sinus surgery in the past, to avoid further damage to the lining of the nose.
How high is the balloon sinuplasty success rate?
Clinical research confirms that balloon sinuplasty provides long-term relief from sinus symptoms by effectively opening the blocked sinus passageways.
In my series of 100 consecutive patients treating 289 sinuses there have been absolutely no complications. 99% of patients felt better after surgery, and two patients had the surgery repeated two years after the initial surgery.
I have been performing this procedure since 2010 and have still not had any complications reported – but I do have many happy patients who have experienced the benefits.