Balloon Sinuplasty By Dr. Doris Lin

New Devices to help Patients Suffering from Chronic Sinusitis

Dr. Lin Balloon Sinuplasty Expert CCENTSinusitis can be caused by bacterial, viral, fungal or other microbial infections and the symptoms can be worsened by allergies, environmental irritants or structural blockages in the nose.

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Facial pain, pressure, congestion or fullness
  • Nasal obstruction or blockage
  • Discharge of discolored mucus from the nose
  • Discolored post-nasal drainage
  • Loss or altered of the sense of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the upper teeth
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Bad breath

Many chronic sinusitis sufferers are treated with repeated courses of antibiotics, decongestants, steroids, antihistamines, nasal irrigation and various nasal sprays or other allergy treatments (such as allergy shots). Sometimes the infections are so chronic that these patients feel constant facial pressure and fatigue for such long periods of time they begin to feel “used” to it or forget what it is like to be without sinusitis.

Surgery is often the next step but they may feel afraid or unsure of its benefits. These patients have already maximized their treatment of allergies or control of environmental irritants and would like to feel better. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) aims to relieve structural or mucosal obstruction of the sinuses with minimal damage to the rest of the nasal passages. The goal is to widen or open up the natural paths for sinus drainage.

In chronic sinusitis, the natural openings of the sinuses are often narrowed or completely closed due to the inflammation from repeated infections, allergies, nasal polyps, or other structural abnormalities. Antibiotics given in this situation will kill the bacteria but the sinuses are unable to drain the fluid - leaving the patient with persistent symptoms of pressure and fluid in the sinuses that can become easily re-infected. In this case, opening the sinus is the only way to improve the situation. Once the sinus is opened during surgery, the sinus can also be washed out to help clear the chronic infections.

Some new tools in FESS allow the surgeon to treat the sinuses with minimal damage to surrounding
tissues and organs. Image guidance during surgery allows the surgeon to bring an interactive computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan into surgery to help identify structures and steer clear of surrounding vital organs (such as the brain and the eye) to help make FESS safer (see article in July 2007 newsletter)

SinusitisA device called Balloon Sinuplasty consists of a small guide wire that guides a small balloon to enlarge the sinus opening (see Figure 1)

Using the balloon to open the sinus rather than the traditional cutting instruments helps minimize trauma to the surrounding nasal tissue. The thin guide wire also aids in opening of some sinuses that can be harder to reach with traditional instruments such as the frontal sinus or sphenoid sinus (see Figure 2). Balloon sinuplasty is usually performed in the operating room but is now offered as an office procedure for carefully selected patients.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Download Brochure Balloon Sinuplasty - new techniques in sinus surgery



PROPEL sinus implants 

A new device called Propel can deliver steroids directly to the surgical bed up to 4 weeks after surgery.

Nasal steroid sprays are also now available as a nasal nebulizer. The nebulizer allows improved delivery of steroids and / or antibiotics to all of the opened sinus cavities, especially helpful after surgery since traditional nasal sprays can’t reach all the areas inside the nose. These tools, in appropriate patients, can improve results from sinus surgery, leading to longer relief of sinus symptoms, decreased frequency of sinus infections, and improved quality of life! All surgeons at CCENT are trained in image guided surgery, Balloon Sinuplasty, and Propel.

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