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Balloon Sinuplasty – Procedure, Success Rate, Recovery, Side Effects, and More

If you suffer from symptoms that do not respond to medical treatment such as facial pain and pressure, sinus headaches, nasal obstruction, decreased sense of smell and nasal drainage Balloon Sinuplasty proves a viable option. In-office Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure is an advanced surgical procedure that removes the pain, discomfort, and hassle of the traditional operating room surgery and delivers life-changing results.

At Estrella ENT, our founding doctor, Jonathan Wiggenhorn, D.O., performs hundreds of in-office procedures every year. Balloon Sinuplasty (BSP) is a safe and effective remedy and unlike more dramatic treatments, can be performed in-office, without the need or cost of hospital operating room surgeries. Dr. Wiggenhorn has performed this surgery hundreds of times both at the Estrella ENT office as well as at hospital surgery centers. This procedure provides chronic sinusitis sufferers with relief from uncomfortable sinus pain symptoms.

While you may be new to the concept of Balloon Sinuplasty, it is a tried and true method for treating chronic illness, approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2005.

What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

When an Estrella ENT patient learns that they are a good candidate for this advanced sinus procedure, they want to know exactly what’s involved. From preparation, to what is actually done, all the way to recovery, and then finally long-term impact.

The main thing candidates should understand is what is actually being done through the advanced sinus procedure.

Balloon Sinuplasty is a type of endoscopic nasal surgery that uses small balloon catheters. This small catheter is inserted all the way into the sinuses and then inflates like a balloon to open up the sinuses allowing the build-up in the large sinuses to drain, relieving pressure, and bringing relief. The balloon is no larger than two centimeters.

In the past, many patients would opt for a surgery that would remove bone and tissue so drainage could pass. With Balloon Sinuplasty, you now have a choice between non-destructive or destructive surgery, meaning no bones need to be broken or removed.

Besides the choice of a less invasive sinus procedure, patients have come to appreciate the flexibility in the choice of surgery locations. Dr. Wiggenhorn successfully performs BSP at his office every week and patients have been thrilled with their experience. The in-office procedure is done using oral or IV sedation which leads right into the most commonly asked questions regarding in-office sinuplasty procedures:
Will it hurt?

The consistent report from patients who have opted for the convenience of in-office sinuplasty procedure is that they have felt only slight pressure during the surgery, not discomfort and certainly not pain. In the past, general anesthetic administered in a hospital surgery room was required. Now, because of the comfort that is able to be achieved through the in-office procedure, patients are bypassing the inconvenience and cost of the hospital for the more efficient and cost-effective in-office route.

Once the sedation is administered, Dr. Wiggenhorn inserts the endoscope with a camera and light on the end into the nasal passage. He guides it all the way to the cavity entrance and then slowly advances a small balloon catheter over the guiding endoscope wire. When the balloon catheter is correctly positioned, it will slowly be inflated and pressed against the sinus walls. After the balloon is fully inflated, Dr. Wiggenhorn may flush out the passageways and cavities with a saline rinse to further remove debri. Once complete, the balloon is removed and the sinuses continue to drain. There is no cutting of nasal bone or tissue with Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure.

Image guided technology will be used as a guidance system during your procedure. Using this GPS-like system, Dr. Wiggenhorn can track the location of his instrument within millimeters using a live screen. Between the live screen and the multi-view CT scan, Dr. Wiggenhorn can confirm exactly where the endoscope is and work with precision.

Most patients are surprised that this procedure typically takes around 30 minutes. The brevity of the procedure combined with the in-office option has patients out and on their way in a couple of hours.

Here are a few additional things patients have appreciated knowing before opting for a balloon sinuplasty procedure:

  • Balloon sinuplasty is considered very safe and effective when performed by a qualified doctor, for instance, our very own Dr. Jonathan Wiggenhorn, DO at Estrella ENT.
  • BSP is associated with high rates of success and low risks of complications.
  • Benefits of balloon sinuplasty over traditional endoscopic sinus surgeries include a lower risk of bleeding, much faster recovery time, no damage or removal of sinus tissues, mucous membranes or sinus cartilage.
  • Fewer post-op appointments are needed because there’s no need to inspect stitches or sutures.
  • There is a reduced need for operative and post-op pain meds and general anesthesia, therefore lowering the risk of an adverse reaction to those medications.
  • Reduced risk of postoperative infection, unintentional tissue or structure damage and scarring.

Is the Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure Effective?

When other treatments and therapies fail to remedy a patient with medically diagnosed chronic sinusitis, Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure is a fantastic option to experience long-term, even lifelong relief from all the symptoms mentioned earlier in this article.

Along with the testimonials you’ll find from patients who have opted for BSP, you’ll find many studies that observed the impact of the treatment.

A 2016 study shared by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health website reported that of 15 adults who received balloon sinuplasty, all reported improved symptoms such as open, clear nasal passages. The procedure helped preserve healthy nasal tissues, mucous membranes, and structure.

A 2013 study shared by the same USNLM and NIH found that of 20 individuals who received balloon sinuplasty, all reported dramatically improved symptoms within one week of surgery. One Week! These participants were also symptom-free in the year following surgery.

Finally, a second 2013 study published on the USNLM and NIH website found that when performed in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia, people who had balloon sinuplasty reported an overall improved quality of life.

Treatment Prior to Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure

Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure is a wonderful solution to chronic sinusitis, however, it is not a ‘first-option’ treatment. A patient must first be diagnosed with chronic sinusitis in order to qualify for surgery. The majority of our BSP patients have come to Estrella ENT after treatments by primary care providers have been unsuccessful in relieving their symptoms.

Treatments that are typically prescribed prior to surgery include multiple rounds of antibiotics, nasal steroids, and nasal irrigations. Dr. Wiggenhorn often performs allergy testing, allergy drops or allergy shots to try and bring allergy symptoms under control. Once a patient has gone through each option with no relief, it is at that point Dr. Wiggenhorn recommends this surgical option.

Your Path: Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure

Dr. Wiggenhorn’s first step to qualify a patient for Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure is to take a CT scan. At Estrella ENT we have our own CT scan machine in-office to give us immediate results. If the in-office CT scan confirms chronic sinusitis and the patient is an otherwise good candidate for the procedure, a procedure day can be scheduled during the same visit. In some cases, our schedule can accommodate same-week procedure appointments.

Once your sinus procedure has been scheduled, there are a few things you need to do in order to prep for BSP. If you have any other medical concerns or problems, you will need clearance from the supervising doctor. If you are on blood thinners, you will need to be off of them for a minimum of seven days. You will not be able to drive yourself home following surgery so you will need to secure a ride from a friend or family member and have someone stay with you for 24 hours following the procedure.

On the day of your procedure, our office will go over all the post-procedure instructions with you thoroughly and answer any other additional questions in regards to your procedure, and aftercare. Dr. Wiggenhorn also goes over the procedure with you, giving you an opportunity to ask any questions or express any concerns.

Choosing Between In-Office Procedure or Hospital Surgery

Patients are sometimes concerned with the level of comfort they will experience in-office versus a hospital operating room. As an advocate for his patients, Dr. Wiggenhorn – in most cases – will recommend the in-office procedure. You will avoid the hospital altogether and your recovery will be much quicker. You will obtain oral or IV sedation and Dr. Wiggenhorn will administer topical medications so you won’t feel any pain during your procedure. An additional benefit for some patients is a lower out-of-pocket cost if the procedure is performed in a physician’s office.

What You Can Expect After a Balloon Sinuplasty

The post-procedure experience can vary from person to person, but the majority of patients report being a little groggy but alert and are able to answer questions and understand replies. You may experience tiredness, tenderness, headache, congestion, and bloody drainage following the procedure.

You and your family member will be given follow-up instructions and you will have a chance to ask any questions about them. Dr. Wiggenhorn may advise you not to blow your nose for a week or two after your procedure and you will be instructed to avoid strenuous activities for at least a week after. You will be placed on saline irrigations 3-4 times daily. You also will be on traveling restrictions. No flying or out of town trips.

Within 10-15 minutes of the procedure, you will be on your way home. Most patients are very happy about how quickly the procedure was performed, and that it was so easy.

Following their procedure, it will be necessary for you to return to our office for a post-procedure debridement. There may be a build-up crusting within the sinuses that needs to gently be removed. Completing this debridement can be done in one to three office visits, depending on case by case scenario.

Once home, many of our patients find it helpful to sleep or rest with their head and neck in an elevated position to promote drainage. When resting, prompt some pillows behind your head to keep it in an inclined position. A recliner is also a good resting spot for the first few days after. Dr. Wiggenhorn will write you prescriptions for medication(s) post-procedure to help manage any discomfort or pressure.

Patients can expect to return to normal activities quickly. In fact, most patients return to regular activities, including work, 48 hours after BSP. Wow!

How Long It Takes To Feel Relief Post-Procedure

The real question is, how long will it take before experiencing relief from sinus symptoms? Depending on the patient and the extent of the sinus disease, some patients will feel relief within a day or two.

Some patients will take a little bit longer to recover, especially if more work was done beyond the BSP. Two common surgeries done at the same time as BSP are turbinate reductions and septoplasties.

We all have turbinates in our nose that humidify and clean the air we breathe, as well as warm up the air we breathe; sometimes these can get quite large. Dr. Wiggenhorn can reduce them at the same time as the balloon dilation procedure.

Another condition that can be treated during the procedure is a deviated septum. Deviated septum is something that could cause nasal obstruction. This is also something that can be fixed at the same time. If you need those things corrected, you can have them all done at once. Dr. Wiggenhorn is one of the first to pioneer the implementation of the in-office septoplasty. Throughout the state of Arizona, you will find that most ENT physicians have not mastered this technique.

Balloon sinuplasty is highly successful – what success looks like from patient to patient can vary. Many patients have other underlying problems such as severe allergies which will need to be treated. In other words, the whole person needs to be treated, not just surgically, but also medically for any other ailments you may have that can trigger sinus infections.

Final Thoughts on Balloon Sinuplasty

Dr. Wiggenhorn believes that balloon sinuplasty is the wave of the future and that the in-office procedure is where sinus surgery is headed. Not many doctors have entertained BSP over other, more aged treatments. This breakthrough and medically approved procedure come with decreased risk and no general anesthesia, less hospital time, and lower overall cost to individual patients and the healthcare system in general. It’s a reliable method that has been proven through many studies.

If you have been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis and are not responding well to medication, or if you have recurrent acute rhinosinusitis, you may be a candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty. It’s a proven, less invasive technology used by ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors like Dr. Wiggenhorn to treat patients with chronic and recurrent acute sinusitis. Contact Estrella ENT today to schedule your consultation.

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Estrella ENT, Goodyear

2700 North 140th Ave, Suite 107
Goodyear, AZ 85395


Estrella ENT, Sun City West

14506 West Granite Valley Drive, Suite 124
Sun City West, AZ 85375