Balloon sinuplasty is quickly becoming the most common sinus surgery. A relatively newer surgery, balloon sinuplasty is a medical procedure that treats chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis is a condition that describes the swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. This inflammation produces various symptoms that makes breathing through the nose difficult. Sinusitis can be acute or chronic. Balloon sinuplasty is an effective treatment option that is designed to alleviate chronic sinusitis.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 million adults have chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis can be caused by a variety of factors including: tissue growths, a deviated nasal septum, allergies, and respiratory tract infections. These factors cause the sinuses – located in the nasal passageway and head – to become inflamed. This prevents mucus from draining the way it normally would, causing the nose to be stuffy. Additional symptoms include:


          Thick discharge (out of the nose)

          Pain or tenderness around the nose, eyes, cheeks, forehead

          Earache, headache

          Runny nose

          Cough, sore throat

          Sleep issues

Acute sinusitis is typically caused by the common cold or allergies and can be self-treated with over the counter medications that alleviate symptoms. Chronic sinusitis can last up to three months and could require antibiotics to dissipate. Recurring chronic sinusitis can disrupt daily life and require additional medical intervention like balloon sinuplasty. 

Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty was approved in 2005 and is now one of the most common ways to effectively treat sinusitis. According to a study published in 2017, the number of procedures increased by 59% from 2011 to 2014. This is largely due to the surgery being minimally invasive leading to a quicker recovery time. Balloon sinuplasty does not involve the cutting or loss of any nasal tissues or bones so the risks associated are fewer and the benefits are significant.

The surgery is performed by an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor and involves expanding and draining the major nasal spaces. This is carried out by inserting a small flashlight into the nasal passageway as well as a thin balloon catheter. The balloon is then inflated which expands the sinus opening. The mucus and pus that has accumulated is then able to be flushed out with a saline solution. After the sinuses have been effectively drained and cleared out, the doctor removes the catheter and the opening it created alleviates the pressure, congestion, and other symptoms it caused.

Recovery & Effectiveness

A significant benefit of balloon sinuplasty is the short recovery time. The aftercare and side effects of the surgery are minimal and people usually resume regular activities within 1 – 2 days. Additionally, balloon sinuplasty is recognized as a highly effective treatment option. Research that has thoroughly studied the effectiveness of balloon sinuplasty include:

         2017 study: included 30 children who had the surgery and were examined for one year after the treatment. Researchers found that the procedure cured sinusitis in 94% of the children.

         2016 study: include 15 people who underwent balloon sinuplasty and were studied for 6 months after the surgery. Researchers found that there were no damaging side effects and that the symptoms of all patients improved significantly. 

The minimal invasiveness, smooth recovery, and effectiveness of balloon sinuplasty has made this an increasingly popular treatment option for sinusitis.

Risks & Benefits

In addition to the short recovery time, balloon sinuplasty involves relatively low risks. Additional benefits include:

          No tissue, bone, structural damage caused by surgery

          Reduced risk of bleeding

          Short hospital stay, reducing associated costs

          Few post-operative appointments

          Reduced need for pain management medications

          Low risk of postoperative infection, tissue damage, bleeding etc.

The major benefit is long-lasting relief of chronic sinusitis. Symptoms are alleviated, which allow people to navigate daily life with greater ease and control. Quality of sleep, ability to focus, have conversations, and complete tasks is significantly improved. 

If you are someone who experiences serious sinus issues and are interested in knowing more about this treatment, contact us to learn more! We are here to discuss the options available to you and how we can help improve your health!

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