Unfortunately, over 30 million people suffer with chronic sinusitis in the United States alone – creating a staggering number of people enduring uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms in their daily lives.
Symptoms include –
- Trouble breathing through the nose
- Excess mucus
- Soreness around the head, nose, and throat
- A consistent cough
Although some sinus conditions can clear up on their own, patients that have persistent symptoms may need a long-term solution if they’re experiencing chronic sinusitis.
How is Chronic Sinusitis Diagnosed?
We start with a CT scan to define the areas in the sinuses where there is a problem, so then we can figure out how to address that area. Below, I’ve outlined the different diagnostic efforts we make to address the different sinus areas.
- Maxillary Sinus – we will use a balloon dilatation of the sinus opening.
- Ethmoid Sinus – we clean out the little “honeycomb” spaces in the ethmoid.
- Frontal Sinus – the sinus that sits over the brow can be expanded with the balloon.
- Sphenoid Sinus – the sinus at the back of the head can be accessed using the sinus balloon.
So, we have different tools that we use to help us address different areas.
How Does a Sinus Balloon Work?
The sinus balloon is a great tool we use for sinus treatment. It can be hooked to a computer, and when the wire is extended out of the balloon, the wire goes to a computer which tells the computer where the tip of this wire is in the person’s sinuses.
While looking through a nasal endoscope, the guidewire is advanced into the sinus of interest using the 3-dimensional computer image guidance technology.
Once the wire is in the right place, we can advance the balloon over the wire and expand the balloon to inflate it.
The balloon inflates to a diameter of six to seven millimeters, and it expands the opening in the cheek sinuses. The bone that covers the cheek sinus is very thin, so it creates a fragile layer that expands and opens up a drainage pathway for the cheek sinus.
Once the bone area heals, it stents the area open.
How Effective is Balloon Sinuplasty?
Balloon sinuplasty is just as durable as traditional sinus surgery, so the effects last just like it. The balloon we use can also be guided into the frontal sinus to help with problems in that area too.
The frontal sinus area was traditionally very hard for us to operate in because it was beyond our area of visualization.
With the use of image guidance, using a CT scan to create a 3D model of the head — then using that 3D model to correspond to the wire that comes out of the end of the balloon — we can access the frontal sinus, place the balloon in that area, and open the frontal sinus.
The same technique also works for the sphenoid sinus, which is located way back in the center of the head.
It’s a really wonderful tool.
Ready to Address Chronic Sinusitis?
After treating thousands of local people across East Tennessee, our expert otolaryngologists understand the daily challenges faced by those with chronic sinusitis. If you or a loved one is experiencing unpleasant and persistent symptoms, please reach out to our friendly team.
Our team has over 75 years of combined experience helping people like you to breathe clearly and lead a healthier, happier lifestyle.
We look forward to meeting you soon.