What to Expect During and After Balloon Sinuplasty

Sep 01, 2023
What to Expect During and After Balloon Sinuplasty
Chronic sinusitis makes it hard to breathe, taste your food, or enjoy life. If you haven’t responded to medications, you might be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty. Here’s what to know about this simple, effective procedure.

About 11% of women and men in the United States have been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, an irritating and uncomfortable inflammation of their sinus passages that makes it hard to breathe. If you suffer from a chronically stuffed-up nose, postnasal drip, or a bad taste in your mouth that translates to bad breath as well, you, too, may have chronic sinusitis.

Sinusitis frequently follows a cold or other nasal infection and usually resolves on its own. When it persists for 12 weeks or longer, it’s considered a chronic condition and must be treated.

At the Allergy and Asthma Institute in North Atlanta, Georgia, our expert clinician Lakshmi Reddy, MD, first treats sinusitis with medications that reduce inflammation and other symptoms. You may also benefit from anti-inflammatory nasal sprays or saltwater irrigation that clears your nose and sinuses.

If your symptoms don’t resolve and aren’t caused by structural problems such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum, Dr. Reddy may recommend a simple procedure called balloon sinuplasty.

What happens during and after balloon sinuplasty? The answers follow. 

First we determine your candidacy

Not everyone with chronic sinusitis benefits from balloon sinuplasty. In fact, sinuplasty usually works best if you’ve only recently been diagnosed with sinusitis.

To determine if you’d benefit from the procedure, Dr. Reddy first uses computed tomography (CT) scans to visualize your sinuses and nasal structures. These CTs also help her see if you have polyps that should be removed, or if you have a severely deviated septum that would respond better to surgery.

Balloon sinuplasty is an outpatient procedure

If Dr. Reddy establishes that you’re a candidate, you don’t have to go to the hospital for balloon sinuplasty. In most cases, you don’t need general anesthesia, either.

Be sure to arrange ahead of time to have somebody drive you to and from your procedure, however. The sedative we give you takes many hours to wear off. You won’t be in any shape or alert enough to drive or to take public transport.

We prep you for sinuplasty

You sit up comfortably for your balloon sinuplasty. Even with a sedative, you’re conscious during the procedure, though you may feel drowsy.

To further numb your nose, Dr. Reddy administers anesthetic spray as well as a decongestant. She then sprays anesthetic onto cotton pads and puts those up your nose to completely numb it. Once your nose is numb, she removes the pads and injects a more powerful anesthetic .

There are no needles or scalpels 

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure. Instead of cutting away inflamed tissue, Dr. Reddy pushes it aside by inflating a balloon in your sinuses.

First, she threads a guidewire catheter through your nostril and up into the inflamed sinus. The catheter contains an endoscope and a miniature, deflated balloon. She monitors the progress of the catheter through a real-time, 3D image that the endoscope sends to a computer monitor screen.

Once the balloon is in place, she inflates it. The balloon pushes your inflamed tissues against the sinus walls. This opens your sinus so that air passes through it more easily again. She then deflates the balloon and moves on to the next inflamed sinus. 

Let yourself recover 

After Dr. Reddy has unblocked your sinuses, you remain in our office for a few minutes so we can establish that you have no complications. After we give you the all-clear, please have a friend or family member drive you home. 

During your recovery period of 24-48 hours, you should rest at home. Don’t try to go to work or do anything strenuous. In fact, you should skip the gym and any kind of physical labor for about a week. We also recommend that during the first two days you:

  • Rinse your nose with nasal spray
  • Refrain from blowing your nose
  • Sleep with your head elevated

You may bleed a little postoperatively. However, let us know if you have breakthrough bleeding, pus, or any other symptoms at home. As the sedative wears off, you can switch to over-the-counter painkillers.

Breathe freely

After your recovery period, your symptoms should resolve, and you should be able to breathe more fully and freely.

Be sure to keep all of your follow-up appointments. You should come back to see Dr. Reddy for endoscopic nasal exams at:

  • One week post-procedure
  • Three months post-procedure
  • One year post-procedure

Most people who undergo balloon sinuplasty experience long-term relief. However, if you have pain or continued symptoms, you may need another sinuplasty or other form of treatment. 

Stop suffering from chronic sinusitis. Contact us about balloon sinuplasty and other treatments today. Call our friendly staff at 678-615-7878, or use our convenient online appointment form.