Shannon offers a surgical option to combat chronic sinusitis, a health problem resulting in more than 20 million doctor visits annually. Dr. David Huchton, MD, and Dr. Clint Lasiter, MD, Shannon Clinic otolaryngologists, are the first physicians in San Angelo to offer balloon sinuplasty, the most advanced technology in sinus surgery, to help you breathe easier. Balloon sinuplasty is the newest development in sinus surgery, a field that has evolved greatly over the last 50 years.
The sinuses are air spaces behind the bones of the upper face. Normally functioning sinuses allow air and mucus to flow freely through their drainage pathways. Sinusitis occurs when the sinus openings close, causing mucus to become stagnant. Sinusitis affects more than 37 million people, and 7 million have chronic sinusitis. This health problem is more prevalent than heart disease and asthma and may affect your quality of life.
Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis are:
- Nasal congestion.
- Facial discomfort.
- Nasal discharge.
- Teeth pain.
These symptoms may have significant physical, functional and emotional effects if left untreated.
Initially, most sinus problems are treated with medication. Treatments include antibiotics or topical nasal steroid sprays and inhaling steam or using saline nasal drops. However, medications and treatments prove to be ineffective for 20 percent of people with sinus issues. Luckily, sinus surgery is an option when medications and other treatments are ineffective.
The techniques used to perform the balloon sinuplasty surgery are far less invasive than conventional sinus surgery. The procedure, performed under general anesthesia, generally takes 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Patients have minimal bleeding, less pain and may return to normal activity in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Contrarily, conventional surgery uses an endoscope and shaver to remove bone and tissue possibly resulting in more post-operative pain, scarring and bleeding and a recovery time of 7 to 10 days.
How does balloon sinuplasty work?
The goal of the minimally invasive surgery is to unblock the sinuses while preserving function and maintaining anatomy. Balloon sinuplasty parallels the function of the coronary angioplasty procedure. A catheter is inserted through the nose and into the target sinus cavity. Then the balloon is inflated, gently microfracturing the drainage passage of each sinus. The now wider passage restores normal sinus drainage and function, relieving the complications of sinusitis.
For patients with sinus blockage, this may be a one-time fix.
Eligibility for surgery depends on a patient's history and the degree of illness caused by the sinuses. Generally, candidates are those who have chronic or recurrent acute sinus issues, such as sinusitis and persistent infections.