Millions of people suffer from chronic sinusitis. In fact, more people visit the doctor each year for sinus problems than for asthma or heart disease. While there are non-surgical treatments available, they don’t work for every patient. In the past, patients who didn’t respond to medicine or other non-surgical treatments but were opposed to surgery were left to suffer.
Fortunately, a relatively new, less invasive treatment is available for chronic sinusitis. It’s known as balloon sinuplasty. Dr. Rubinstein was the first ENT in the area to offer the minimally invasive option to his patients. If you’re suffering from long-lasting sinus problems, find out if balloon dilation is the right option for you.
Do You Have Chronic or Recurring Sinusitis?
To benefit from balloon sinuplasty, you need to be suffering from chronic sinusitis. A chronic case of sinusitis is different from an acute case in several ways. One of the major differences is how long symptoms last. Your symptoms need to last for at least three months, or 12 weeks, for you to have chronic sinusitis.
Another difference is the cause of symptoms. People often develop acute sinusitis after they’ve had a virus or other type of infection. It can be caused by a bacterial infection, a fungal infection or a viral infection.
The symptoms of chronic sinusitis usually occur because of persistent inflammation in the sinus cavities. You’ll have similar symptoms as a person with an acute sinus infection, such as congestion, mucus build-up and tenderness around the eyes, cheeks and forehead.
A number of things can cause chronic sinusitis, including allergies, nasal polyps or a deviated septum. Some medical conditions and infections can also cause a chronic sinus problem.
Recurring sinusitis is a combination of chronic and acute problems. When you have recurring sinusitis, your symptoms don’t persist. Instead, they clear up, only to return weeks later. To count as having recurring sinusitis, you need to have four or more infections each year.
Understanding Treatment Options
Before treating sinusitis, your doctor will try to determine the cause of it. Figuring out what’s causing your symptoms will help him pinpoint the most appropriate treatment. For example, if your sinusitis is related to a deviated septum, surgery to correct the septum might be more appropriate than a treatment like balloon sinuplasty.
Usually, doctors start recommending conservative treatments and will progress to more invasive treatments based on how you respond. Although some patients do get relief from treatments like saline rinses and corticosteroids, not everyone responds to those treatments.
People suffering from recurring sinusitis can get some relief from antibiotics. However, it can be dangerous to keep taking antibiotics several times throughout the year.
How Balloon Sinuplasty Works
Whether you have chronic or recurring sinusitis and other treatments aren’t helping, balloon sinuplasty can be the answer. The treatment involves threading a small camera and a catheter up the nose, into the sinus cavity. Once in the cavity, a small balloon is inflated that helps to reshape the sinus, minimizing blockage and inflammation. The cavity is able to drain, which helps a person to breathe comfortably again.
The procedure can be performed under general anesthesia. However, it is more commonly performed using a sedative and a local anesthetic.
What is Recovery Like?
Since balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t involve cutting, the recovery afterwards is usually very short. Many people are able to return to their regular activities, such as work or school, after just a couple of days.
Are There Risks?
Any treatment for sinusitis involves some risks, and that is true for balloon sinuplasty. However, the risks for this procedure are generally much lower than the risks for other treatment options, including sinus surgery, since there is no cutting or incisions made.
It’s still important to understand the risks associated with the procedure and to discuss any concerns you have with your doctor before treatment. Risks include infection and trauma to certain tissues.
Will Insurance Cover Balloon Sinuplasty?
Your insurance might offer coverage for balloon sinuplasty. Most providers do cover it since it is often a medically necessary procedure. How much you will have to pay out of pocket for the treatment depends on your specific policy.
There are ways to reduce the cost of balloon sinuplasty. For example, having the procedure performed in office is usually considerably less expensive than having it performed in a hospital using general anesthesia.
About Dr. Rubinstein
In 2008, Dr. Rubinstein became the first doctor in the Hudson Valley to offer patients balloon sinuplasty. He has nearly sixteen years of experience helping patients with sinus and related problems in the Hudson Valley. A board certified facial plastic surgeon and board certified otolaryngologist, he has extensive knowledge of laser procedures, facial plastic surgery, and nasal and sinus treatments which allow him to improve aesthetics as well as functionality of the nose and facial features.
Dr. Rubinstein received his board certifications through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. To learn more about your immunotherapy options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rubinstein at the Hudson Valley Sinus Center by calling 845-562-6673.