If you’re suffering from chronic severe sinus infections, nasal polyps or other disruptive blockages that prevent you from breathing easily, you may be looking into corrective procedures.
When it comes to alleviating the discomfort these symptoms cause, balloon sinuplasty and endoscopic sinus surgery are two major treatments that might solve your sinus problems.
But what are the differences between the two, and which one is right for you?
We’re here to help you make the right decision. In this blog, we’ll go over the processes, treatments, posttreatment healing and other factors associated with balloon sinuplasty and endoscopic sinus surgery.
[Related: Balloon Sinuplasty: What To Expect]
Balloon Sinuplasty Treatment
This procedure treats chronic sinusitis without surgery. A physician maneuvers a small balloon into the nasal passageways, which inflates to open the sinus pathways.
Many patients who opt for balloon sinuplasty have had little luck with traditional medicinal treatments but still want something less invasive than surgical procedures.
Balloon Sinuplasty Process
The step-by-step process for balloon sinuplasty is fairly quick and simple. It requires no incisions or bone and tissue removal, and doctors can perform it in an outpatient setting.
Here’s what to expect. Your doctor gives you general anesthesia or offers you conscious sedation before applying a topical decongestant inside your nose. They then inject your nasal tissue with a local anesthetic, so you won’t feel much of anything.
Next, your doctor inserts a very thin wire catheter with a tube into your nasal passageway that guides a small balloon into the blocked sinus area. The tube then slowly inflates the balloon to manually widen the blocked sinus passageway. Finally, the tube deflates, and the doctor removes the balloon.
Your doctor may go through this process several times until your sinuses remain clear.
[Related: Sinus Surgery: Types, Costs, Procedures and More]
Balloon Sinuplasty Posttreatment and Healing
After your procedure, you can probably return to your normal day-to-day activities pretty much right away. However, you may experience some mild, temporary congestion and slightly bloody nasal drainage.
Here are some helpful, general postprocedure tips for healing and recovery after a balloon sinuplasty treatment:
- Avoid blowing your nose for 48 hours after the procedure.
- Rinse your nose with nasal spray or a saline rinse.
- Sleep with your head elevated to minimize posttreatment congestion.
- Avoid strenuous activities or exercise for the week following your sinuplasty.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Endoscopic sinus surgery is another treatment option. However, it’s a bit more invasive than balloon sinuplasty because it’s surgical.
This procedure involves removing blockages via a thin, rigid tube with a camera and light — an endoscope. The light and camera allow your doctor to remove the delicate bone and mucus membranes that may block your drainage pathways.
Although this treatment is surgical, it doesn’t involve any major incisions or piercing of the skin because doctors perform it through the nasal passageway.
[Related: When Should I Consider Balloon Sinuplasty?]
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Process
When you undergo endoscopic sinus surgery, your physician puts you under general anesthesia. You won’t experience any discomfort during the procedure.
Next, your physician inserts the endoscope into one nostril to get a visual of the inflamed sinus tissues. They then use specialized instruments alongside the endoscope to remove swollen mucus membranes, nasal polyps, scar tissue and anything else that may block your sinuses.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Posttreatment and Healing
After endoscopic surgery, you recover for a few hours while you wake up from general anesthesia. Most patients are ready to go home just a few hours after treatment.
Your doctor should send you home with instructions and tools for how to deal with your sinuses during healing. These might include standard over-the-counter items:
- Extra-strength acetaminophen to relieve minor discomfort
- A nasal saline spray to make your nasal passageway more comfortable
- A sinus irrigation kit to flush out leftover debris
Patients who undergo endoscopic sinus surgery may experience slight bloody discharge, sinus pressure and pain, fatigue and nasal congestion for a couple of weeks postsurgery.
You’ll need to revisit your doctor a few times after treatment. In the office, your doctor can sufficiently clean fluid from your sinuses and ensure the healing process is going well.
[Related: Balloon Septoplasty: What To Expect]
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery vs. Balloon Sinuplasty: Key Differences
While both treatments are safe and effective, they have a few key differences.
The main takeaway in differences between balloon sinuplasty and endoscopic sinus surgery is the degree of invasiveness. With endoscopic sinus surgery, you have minor incisions and tissue removal, but no cutting or removal occurs with balloon sinuplasty.
Anesthesia is also something to consider. If you’re sensitive to or wary about “going under” or receiving general anesthesia, you might want to opt for balloon sinuplasty. Endoscopic sinus surgery also involves more recovery time.
However, balloon sinuplasty may not help patients with very severe or complicated sinus problems. Patients who need a more intensive approach might find endoscopic sinus surgery is their best course of treatment.
Ultimately, the choice depends on your unique sinus situation. With that in mind, you should thoroughly discuss your options and conditions with your ENT.
Whether you go with balloon sinuplasty or endoscopic sinus surgery, you should be able to find lasting relief from disruptive, uncomfortable sinus issues.
[Related: Are Nasal Polyps Disrupting Your Life?]
Breathe Easy With Dr. Matorin
Are you suffering from chronic sinusitis? If you’re struggling with blocked nasal passageways and looking for relief, we can help. Dr. Matorin, Houston ENT, is ready to help you breathe easier and live a fuller life.
Take the first step and schedule an appointment at our clinic today.
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