Clinical research proves that the Balloon Sinuplasty method of surgically addressing chronic Rhinosinusitis is a proven, minimally invasive option for dilating blocked sinuses.
There are four types of sinuses on each side of the face. These are hollow cavities around your cheekbones and eyes. The cavities are covered with a mucous layer and cells that contain a lining of cilia or tiny hair. These trap and push out bacteria and pollutants that enter the cavities. Each sinus has an
opening, through which accumulated mucous can drain. Function of normal sinuses is to help clean the air we breathe, much like the filter in a carburettor for the automobiles.
Chronic Sinusitis or Rhinosinusitis affects almost 134 million people in India – which means one in eight of us do not have a healthy sinus. Number of affected persons is more in the metros – including Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi – thanks to the higher levels of pollution and lesser green spaces and fresh air.
The situation remains grim in USA too, where of the 37 million people affected, almost 9,00,000 patients are not successfully treated. While about 7 million patients seek prescriptions, 1.4 million fail medication, annually. Only 35 per cent of these patients undergo surgery.
A properly draining sinus is a healthy sinus and when this drainage is blocked, mucous build-up starts to occur.
Due to allergic reactions, improper drainage and microbial infections, many people suffer from accumulated mucous and/or inflammation of the membrane in their sinuses, which results in chronic sinusitis.
Some may suffer from Acute Sinusitis – flaring up only when they have a bad infection.
Who are at risk?
Studies show that Rhinosinusitis is more common in patients who already suffer from heart disease or asthma.
When a patient suffers from Sinusitis, the first course of treatment in usually medication.
- Most often the prescription will be for antibiotics, often coupled with nasal steroid sprays, depending on the severity of the infection.
- These help to reduce the mucosal swelling, and also fight infection and help to remove the obstruction of the sinus openings, thus enabling drainage to happen.
- Very often doctors advise patients to use steam inhalation and/or saline nasal sprays or drops to relive the discomfort and aid in opening up the sinuses and nasal passages.
Though most patients will respond positively to these measures, and recover adequately, about 20 per cent of patients do not respond sufficiently. These are the ones who will need more help and extra measures to help them recover. The next step is invariably surgical consults.
The most prevalent surgical procedure used for sinus surgery is Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS).
- Although FESS clears blocked sinuses and restores drainage, it may not necessarily return normal functioning to the sinuses.
- Removal of the bone and tissue also leads to scarring, bleeding and postoperative discomfort to the patient.
After almost two decades of FESS, the recurrence and revision rates of about 18 per cent (USA statistics) made the surgeons wonder as to what could be going wrong. Further research identified that the uncinate process and its mucociliary mechanism, which is routinely removed in FESS, is required for a functioning sinus and also a wide open cavity means less nitric oxide concentration in the sinuses which has bactericidal properties.
Also, if a patient has an atypical anatomy, FESS is more difficult to use. This is where technology has brought in an even better solution – Balloon Sinuplasty.
Balloon Sinuplasty Technology
Balloon Sinuplasty is the fruit of combining endoscopic techniques with new or emerging technology. It has been in use for more than seven years with over 2,00,070 patients treated and 6,00,210 sinusotomies performed in United States of America.
The technique uses a small, flexible, sinus balloon catheter, which is placed into the nose to reach the sinuses. This 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.
Balloon Sinuplasty’s advantages over conventional surgery:
- Safe and effective – Much less risky than other surgical methods in relieving symptoms of Sinusitis.
- Minimally invasive and patient friendly – Less invasive, less trauma, less pain, less recovery time (just 24 hours for most patients), less scarring and less follow-up procedures. There is minimal bleeding and many patients have been able to return to normal activities within 24 hours.
- Does not limit treatment options – It can safely be used in tandem with other medical therapies or sinus surgery techniques. It does not limit future treatment options.
- Can be used by special case patients – Including those who are prone to excessive bleeding or those in ICU.
It is essential that Sinusitis be treated as early as possible, to ensure:
- It will not develop into a chronic, and debilitating condition
- It will serve to protect against other complications from arising
Treating early also means that the patient will be able to get relief from simpler measures such as medications or Balloon Sinuplasty, and can avoid more radical and invasive measures.