Blocked sinuses can be very painful and uncomfortable for patients with chronic sinus problems, especially if they are not responding to medical treatment. In these cases, surgery is sometimes the next available option.


Since 2005, the modern approach to widening the sinuses to permit normal drainage is by way of balloon sinuplasty™. The good news is you can receive this procedure at a doctor’s office under a local anaesthetic or at an outpatient clinic.


The process involves putting a balloon over a wire catheter and inserting it through an endoscope into the sinuses. The balloon is then inflated so that it widens the sinuses sufficiently to allow drainage. Once the balloon is removed the sinus should remain clear, as the balloon should have slightly remodelled the tissue in that area, sufficiently to keep it clear in future.


Balloon sinuplasty has proven to be extremely effective, providing long lasting results for patients suffering from recurrent infections, asthma, allergies and other conditions causing narrowing of the sinuses. It is also very safe and easy to perform in an outpatient setting, giving speedy relief. Patients may no longer need medication and the recovery process is much faster using balloon sinuplasty than the more invasive functional sinus surgery.


This is a particularly suitable method for patients who may not be able to undergo general anaesthetic due to age, or other health issues, or who are afraid of general surgery. It is also less expensive that some traditional options.


However, not everyone can elect for this type of procedure. Patients with a severely deviated septum, or who have experienced facial trauma, may not be suitable for sinuplasty. And there are some infections which preclude the use of the balloon method as a treatment option.


But for the majority of patients with more straightforward sinus issues, sinuplasty is proving to be an extremely effective and preferable alternative to sinus surgery.