Each year, about 37 million people suffer from sinusitis, an infection or inflammation of the sinuses. Symptoms include nasal congestion, painful headaches, sinus pressure, loss of smell and facial or teeth pain. Many sinusitis cases are acute, but if symptoms last longer than 12 weeks, it could be chronic sinusitis.
When medications fail to work, surgery may provide long-lasting relief for chronic sinus problems. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s Minimally Invasive Sinus Surgery Program offers a new procedure called balloon sinuplasty to help patients breathe easier. Unlike traditional sinus surgery, sinuplasty improves breathing without cutting or removing bone or tissue.
Balloon sinuplasty is very similar to the way doctors expand clogged arteries: using a balloon. During the procedure, an otolaryngologist guides a thin, flexible tube equipped with a small balloon through the nostrils into the blocked sinus. The balloon is then inflated just enough to expand the sinus area, causing the opening to become wider and allowing for easier breathing.
Sinuplasty can be performed without general anesthesia or surgical packing. Patients can resume normal activities within minutes of the procedure.