Dilation/Balloon Sinuplasty


sinusitisSinusitis is an inflammation of the tissue lining of the sinuses that afflicts millions of people each year. The inflammation can cause the sinuses to become blocked and filled with fluid. When the mucus and fluid build up, pathogens (bacteria, viruses and fungi) can grow and cause an infection. Structural issues such as narrowed drainage anatomy are often associated with sinusitis.

Common Symptoms

Include facial congestion/fullness and pressure – Nasal obstruction/blockage – Nasal discharge – Fever – Headaches – Fatigue – Dental Pain – Bad breath

Affected Sinuses

There are four types of paranasal sinuses:

  • Maxillary (behind the cheek bones)
  • Ethmoid (between the eyes)
  • Frontal (in the forehead)
  • Sphenoid (behind the eyes)

All of these sinuses can be affected by sinusitis.

Common Treatments

  1. Medical treatment- includes Antibiotics, steroids, nasal sprays, decongestants, antihistamines and mucolytics.
  2. Surgical – endoscopic sinus surgery commonly performed under anesthesia in an Operating Room
  3. In-Office Dilation/Balloon Sinuplasty- A form of interventional rhinology designed to gently open and reshape the sinus drainage pathways to restore normal sinus drainage. The procedure can be performed in an office setting to provide long lasting relief with a quick recovery.



What is sinusitis?
-Sinusitis – also known as rhino sinusitis is an inflammation of the tissue lining of the sinuses that afflicts millions of people each year.

What is dilation/balloon sinuplasty?
-Dilation/Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive treatment for sinusitis. A small balloon is inserted into the narrowed sinus opening. The balloon is inflated to dilate the opening and subsequently deflated. The device is then removed.

How does it work to treat sinusitis?
-Blocked sinus drainage pathways prevent effective drainage and healing. By expanding the sinus openings and drainage pathways, balloon sinus dilation restores normal sinus clearance.

How quickly after treatment can I return to normal activities?
-Many patients can resume normal activities immediately. It is recommended you refrain from very strenuous activities (such as heavy lifting) for a week after the treatment.

Are there potential risks and complications associated with dilation/balloon sinuplasty?
-As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with balloon sinus dilation. Patients should be consulted to determine if their conditions present any special risks. Potential complications include, but are not limited to: post-operative facial pain, loss of vision or double vision, damage to nerves potentially causing temporary and occasionally prolonged numbness to the cheek, lips or teeth, and facial bruising and swelling, bleeding.

Will I experience pain after the procedure?
-Generally patients are comfortable following the procedure, but a pain medication is commonly offered if needed.

Will I have nasal packing?
-A dissolvable dressing is placed in the nose to reduce the risk of bleeding, but packing is rarely used

When can I fly?
-Swelling in the back of the nose may result in ear discomfort with pressure changes such as with ascent or descent in an airplane. An oral decongestant or a nasal spray may be effective to reduce the swelling if flying is necessary within 2 weeks of the procedure.

When can I scuba dive?
-Similarly, swelling in the back of the nose may result in ear discomfort with pressure changes such as with ascent or descent while scuba diving. An oral decongestant or a nasal spray may be effective to reduce the swelling if diving is necessary within 2 weeks of the procedure.

Will my nose bleed after the procedure?
-A drip pad is maintained after the procedure to absorb any nasal drainage. Bleeding is usually minimal but the drip pad can be changed as needed.

Are there any medications I need to discontinue prior to the procedure?
-Avoid medications that can thin the blood or promote bleeding such as blood thinners, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Vitamin E and Fish oil.

Will I still get sinus infections after the procedure?
-Dilation/Balloon sinuplasty performed in an appropriate candidate is geared toward improving the ability for the sinuses to drain. An infection in the sinus is still possible following the procedure, however, commonly the symptoms may be less severe and medication may be more effective to alleviate the symptoms.

Where is the procedure performed?
-The procedure is commonly performed in our AAAHC accredited facility in Glenview, IL. It can be performed awake with oral sedation or under IV sedation. The procedure may also be combined with other procedures. If indicated, the procedures can be performed in a hospital setting.

Will I require general anesthesia?
-General anesthesia is not required but is available if the procedure is performed in a hospital.

How do sinus openings stay open after the procedure?
-The technology is designed to cause microfractures of the thin bones that make up the sinus openings. This allows for longer-term dilation, keeping the sinus open after the procedure.

Is dilation/balloon sinuplasty a better option than traditional sinus surgery?
-There are indications for both and a discussion will take place with Dr. Rachel to determine what the best treatment is for each patient.

How long does the dilation/balloon sinuplasty procedure take?
-There are multiple paranasal sinuses that may be treated on each side of a patient. The duration of the procedure depends on the number of sinuses treated and the extent of the disease. Typically the procedure can be complete within an hour.

Will dilation/balloon sinuplasty be covered by my health insurance?
-If the procedure is covered by your insurance company, the cost will be billed to your health insurance.

Is the dilation/balloon sinuplasty procedure approved by the FDA?
-Sinus ostial dilation (balloon ostial dilation) has obtained FDA clearance. The position statement by the American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery states that the procedure is an appropriate therapeutic option for selected patients with sinusitis. This approach may be used alone to dilate a sinus ostium (frontal, maxillary, or sphenoid) or in conjunction with other instruments (eg, microdebrider, forceps). The final decision regarding use of techniques or instrumentation for sinus surgery is the responsibility of the attending surgeon.

How will dilation/balloon sinuplasty limit my future sinus treatment options?
-The sinuplasty procedure generally would not limit future treatment options for sinus disease. The beneficial effects of the procedure may be last for years and the balloon sinuplasty may be repeated in the future if indicated.

Does dilation/balloon sinuplasty work?
-Dilation/Balloon sinuplasty is indicated for patients who suffer with symptoms associated with chronic sinusitis. The procedure is performed alone, or in combination with other sinonasal procedures to dilate or open the sinus tracts to allow improved sinus function and promote normal sinus drainage. Patients commonly notice a significant decrease in the number of sinus infections per year, a decrease in the severity of sinus symptoms and an improvement in the effectiveness of medical treatment when used for sinus symptoms. This can result in an improvement in quality of life with increased productivity at work and fewer days out sick.

Do I have to stay in the hospital overnight after the Dilation/Balloon Sinuplasty procedure?
-If the procedure is performed in combination with other procedures, an overnight stay is an option. Usually the procedure is performed outside of a hospital in an ambulatory setting and patients go home after the surgery.

What is the difference between chronic sinusitis and allergies or colds?
-Symptoms associated with each of these entities may be similar. Chronic sinusitis is a disease involving the paranasal sinuses. Patients with allergies and colds may also have chronic sinusitis. A thorough history and physical, endoscopic visualization and sinus imaging are important for establishing the diagnosis of chronic sinusitis.

Is the effect of this procedure permanent or will I have to undergo repeated procedures?
-The beneficial effects of the procedure may last for years and may be repeated in the future if indicated. Medical treatment using antibiotics, and conservative measures can also be effectively used in an acute setting.

Schedule your consultation with Dr. John Rachel, a board certified otolaryngologist.

American Board of Cosmetic Surgery FACS American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Alpha Omega Alpha Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care American Board of Otolaryngology Phi Beta Kappa American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery