Sinusitis affects 37 million people each year, making it one of the most common health problems in the U.S. It is more prevalent than heart disease and asthma and has a greater impact on quality of life than chronic back pain or congestive heart failure. The symptoms of a sinus infection or chronic sinusitis can significantly impact a sufferer’s ability to breathe and live easy.
For many sufferers, sinus congestion mean daily misery in the form of headaches, difficulty breathing, and a diminished quality of life.
Luckily, the effectiveness of a new, endoscopic sinus surgery may help sinusitis sufferers. Traditional sinus surgery used to be performed by cutting through the face. Conventional sinus surgery now is endoscopic. By inserting a small endoscope to help the surgeon see inside the nose and nasal cavities, this procedure works by removing bone and tissue to enlarge the sinus opening. The removal of bone and tissue may lead to some post-operative pain, scarring, and bleeding. But there is now an even more advanced and minimally invasive option.
Over the last two years the Balloon Sinuplasty™ technology has emerged as a new complement to existing approaches. This technology utilizes a small, flexible, sinus balloon catheter that is placed into the nose and into the sinuses. The sinus balloon catheter is gradually inflated to gently restructure the previously blocked nasal passage, maintaining the integrity of the sinus lining and restoring normal sinus drainage and function. There is minimal bleeding, and many patients have been able to return to normal activities within 24 hours. Clinical research has indicated that the Balloon Sinuplasty™ system is a safe and effective tool in dilating blocked sinuses.
The goal of surgery is to restore drainage by removing blockages in the sinuses and nasal passages. In a study from earlier this year, cited by the Wall Street Journal, Oregon Health & Science University found that patients who chose sinus surgery over continued symptom management reported a higher quality of life, fewer missed days of work, and a decreased dependence on medication. More research claims that sinus surgery can help improve fatigue and reduce body aches that may be a result of chronic sinusitis.