If you continue to suffer from sinus pressure and pain, nasal congestion, nasal drainage, or a decreased sense of smell despite extensive medical therapy, you may benefit from a procedure to open blocked passageways to your sinuses. The first step is to schedule an appointment with our ENT surgeon for a review of your history and an exam of your nasal passageways to evaluate for signs of sinus obstruction or inflammation. Additional testing (usually a CT scan of the sinuses) and medical treatments may be required as part of your complete evaluation. If it is determined that you are a candidate for a sinus procedure, we are pleased to offer several different procedures that will be customized to your specific exam findings and your preference of having a procedure performed with you awake with local anesthesia in the office or asleep under general anesthesia in the operating room.
Sinus Procedures at National Allergy & ENT:
- The Balloon Sinus Procedure
- Inferior Turbinate Reduction
- Minimally-Invasive Sinus Surgery
- Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
The Balloon Sinus Procedure
The Balloon Sinus Procedure is an advanced surgical procedure used to treat sinusitis and other related problems through minimally invasive techniques. This procedure is usually performed in the office while you are awake but comfortably sedated, and involves inserting a thin endoscope into the nose without disrupting the surrounding bone and tissue. A small balloon is then gently inflated to widen blocked passageways and allow for proper drainage of the sinuses. You can benefit from less bleeding and shorter recovery times with balloon technology.
Unlike traditional sinus surgery, the Balloon Sinus Procedure does not require the removal the bone or tissue from sinus drainage pathways. Its objective is to reshape your anatomy to expand sinus pathways and restore drainage. It has proven to be an effective, lasting option for some patients whose symptoms do not resolve with medication.
Inferior Turbinate Reduction
The inferior turbinates are two submarine-shaped structures that exist inside your nose, one on each side. Their function is to warm and humidify air while inhaling. For patients who suffer from seasonal or perennial allergies, or from recurrent sinus infections, the inferior turbinates can become abnormally enlarged, and cause difficulty breathing from one or both sides of the nose. The inferior turbinates can be reduced in the office with local anesthesia or in the operating room with general anesthesia. In this procedure, a small incision is made at the front of each inferior turbinate, and a specialized instrument is used to remove the excess tissue in each turbinate while preserving the mucosal covering, so that the turbinates will be reduced in size but can continue to perform their normal function. This procedure is frequently performed in conjunction with other sinus procedures, but is an excellent stand-alone procedure for someone who has enlarged inferior turbinates causing difficulty breathing through his or her nose, and no other abnormalities.
The nasal septum has a truly central role in the appearance and function of the nose. This midline structure separates one side of the nose from the other, and contributes to the support of the bridge and tip of the nose. It is made up of cartilage in the front and bone in the back; deviations of the septum to one side can produce difficulty breathing through one or both sides of the nose, can block sinus passages, and can make the nose appear crooked. Additionally, bony spurs can form on the septum and cause difficulty breathing on the side of the spur. Septoplasty is the surgical correction of these defects of the septum. If a defect is minor, septoplasty can be performed in the office; if more extensive work is required to fix the defects, the procedure is performed in the operating room under general anesthesia.
Minimally-Invasive Sinus Surgery
Minimally-Invasive Sinus Surgery at National Allergy & ENT is an extension of the Balloon Sinus Procedure, and is appropriate for patients who have more extensive sinus disease than can be treated with a balloon alone, but desire an in-office procedure with local anesthesia, less bleeding, and a shorter recovery time than traditional sinus surgery. During minimally-invasive sinus surgery, a thin endoscope is inserted into the nose for visualization, and a balloon is used to expand the passageways to the frontal, maxillary, and sphenoid sinuses. A specialized powered instrument is then used as needed to remove small nasal polyps, to open the ethmoid sinuses, and reduce the size of the inferior turbinates. If present, minor defects in the nasal septum can also be corrected. The overarching principle is to open the blocked nasal and sinus passages to restore normal physiologic function to the nose and sinuses, all while removing as little normal tissue as possible.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery is the current traditional method for performing sinus surgery. It is performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. This is the best option for patients with a large amount of nasal polyps, allergic fungal sinusitis, extensive sinus disease, benign nasal tumors, or who have had prior sinus surgery. In this procedure, a thin endoscope is inserted into the nose for visualization, and the bone and mucosa at the sinus openings are removed to produce permanent larger openings to the sinuses. More tissue is usually removed in this procedure compared to minimally-invasive sinus surgery; however, this is necessitated by the nature of the diseases that are being treated, and the goal remains restoration of normal physiologic function of the nose and sinuses. Septoplasty and/or inferior turbinate reduction are often combined with functional endoscopic sinus surgery to fully address all areas of obstruction.