What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

Balloon Sinuplasty ™ is a proprietary surgical procedure of Acclarent Inc used in the treatment of chronic sinusitis. The procedure (in layman’s terms) involves inserting a flexible catheter (small rubber like tube) via the nostrils up into the narrowed or blocked openings of the sinuses. There the balloon is slowly inflated to enlarge the narrowed or blocked sinus passageways and then withdrawn. The enlarged sinus passages should now allow the blocked sinuses to drain.

Balloon Sinuplasty ™ is seen as an alternative to functional endoscopic sinus surgery, which is the surgical procedure currently endured by 350,000 Americans each year, here surgical instruments are used to cut away and remove bone and tissues to enlarge the sinus passageways.

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words so a video must be worth more, watch this short video explaining the procedure:

Ballon Sinuplasty Video

While Balloon Sinuplasty ™ is certainly less invasive than functional endoscopic sinus surgery, the procedure is relatively new and the long term benefits and disadvantages cannot yet be fully appreciated.

For some it may well be the answer to their problem, but I personally would look at less drastic solutions first.  I had good results with sinusdoctor it may be a bit more inconvenient to use than a spray, but if it works for you, it is probably less inconvenient than balloon sinuplasty.

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  1. LBH’s avatar

    Great info. Thanks again for posting. Yes totally agree as w/ anything talk to your doc and don’t jump the gun! Balloon Sinuplasty (or any surgery) no exception!
    Yes. Thanks again for your very sound and caring advice.

  2. B.Star’s avatar

    Totally agree — you HAVE TO look at less drastic solutions first. Develop good habits with keeping nasal passages clean. I swear by my neti pot and recommend it to everyone.

    I too have heard good things about balloon sinuplasty. From what I have heard it is less invasive and recovery is easier, vs traditional sinus surgery.

    Don’t mean to sound like a broken record but look into rinses, neti, pot, etc. These things are where you should start and will provide both short and long term benefits.


  3. admin’s avatar

    Thanks B,
    The neti pot certainly can help, particularly if you add a small amount of salt. And if sinus surgery becomes a last resort then balloon sinuplasty is worth a look. it’s certainly less invasive than traditional sinus surgery. That said, for some people the last resort comes a lot sooner than it really should, some of the “natural remedies” for recurring sinus infections can be marvelously effective for some, they are a lot cheaper and much less painful. Take a look at our sinus infection discovery review, it is certainly worth a try before you go down the surgery route.

  4. B.Star’s avatar

    Always great to have more info. Thanks for the link. Balloon sinuplasty came up in coversation at work the other day, of all places.

    I of course had to chime in w/ a reco of the neti pot which people who know me are sick of hearing, ha ha.

    Ok thanks again and take care.

  5. ella’s avatar

    i think if you’re a person looking for natural or less invasive treatments then the above are the right paths:

    the rinses can be amazingly effective. and if you end up looking at surgery option it seems that balloon sinuplasty is less invasive of the options.

  6. ashley’s avatar

    Oh how cute…. that video must be company affiliated? I noticed little trade marked dealies when mentioning the procedure by name. Any way, I’m gonna try and get to the point. I thought I had a deviated septum, but I thought I had a nasty sinus infection to boot. After a CT scan the dr realized I must have had a really bad infection once upon a time and scar tissue had built up along the way. But before I had the CT scan he put me on antibiotics to make sure he could see in the sinuses and told me to use the sinus rinse thing. Its kinda like the netti pot, just more power lol so I wanted to mention it because I see quite a few are saying how pro they are for these methods first. I had seen them on tv when I had lost my insurance but they said don’t do it if you have an infection without speaking with a doctor. But when my doctor told me to use it … OMG I used it like 3 sometimes 4 times a day! It was such a great feeling cus I always felt so contested n I used affrin (avoid at all costs). Those netti pots n friends are great. Anyway … my dr tells me he wants to do the balloon sinusplastly thing on me, gives me the pamphlet, tells me a nurse will call an schedule an IN OFFICE procedure and sent me on my way. I shared the pamphlet with every other knowledgeable adult I know because I am have dumbed down quite a bit since taking a break from college due to health reasons. Its all still there just sometimes I need things explained to me in a way that is easier for me. So idk if anyone has seen it or not but it is VAGUE. I’ve had many procedures done because I also have a bad back.
    *printed on nice paper
    *font changes
    *never says how its done
    *doesn’t describe how you will feel after
    *that testimonial from the pros? Yea, there is only ONE and it is vague as f$%k.
    *doesn’t accurately describe procedure

    I just had it done 24 hours ago. The pamphlet seemed like, for lack of better reference, like a nose tampon. They were gonna stick this thing up your nose, I don’t recall if they then pull it out or not, then u wait an hour while your face drains, and then maybe they pull it out? So I was wondering how this would fix my problem lol cus if they were just draining it wont it just come back? N how long does it last? N testimonial dude? How long did it make your life that much more AMAZING?!

    SO here’s what will happen once the STOP telling you step by step what they’re doing. They are going to break the bones in you’re face. You hear it. You feel it. They numb you n give you valium but I left I a physical shock, shaking in pain. THAT is why the pamphlet is so vague. If they say “oh, by the way, we will be breaking your face bones today”, would you still do it? And, they continue to break throughout the day. It is fun… not. Avoid at all costs. I have a HIGH pain tolerance n this hurt so freaking bad. Do not do it. Try something else before.

  7. admin’s avatar

    Thanks for your comments Ashley.
    If the balloon Sinuplasty post encouraged you in anyway you to have the procedure be assured that was not the intention nor is there any affiliation whatsoever with the procedure or companies that perform it. The post is there because it is, like it or not, a popular procedure and many people are looking for more information on balloon sinuplasty, I like you would encourage sinus sufferers to at least try natural sinus remedies that do not include surgery. I hope your recovery is fast and permanent.

  8. Dan’s avatar

    I’m sorry, Ashley, but your comments are slightly ludicrous…a ratin of th r pamphlet and proof that you didn’t bother to take the time to ask your doctor questions before having a surgery.
    Me, I just had the surgery yesterday. I am an allergy sufferer and a frequent flyer who develops repeated sinus infections and ear infections every year. I had more radical surgery 15 years ago to clear out a maxillary sinus that was filled by a cyst, clear out a frontal sinus, and “fix” a deviated septum. Helped
    For a while, but I think enough scar Tissue built up that it was not a permanent cure for me. Anyway, some of the same symptoms that causes that surgery (constant pressure, copious tearing, headaches) brought me to where I am now.

    Regarding the surgery itself…yeah, the pamphlet doesn’t say that they are going to break some bone (the video in this thread does, though), and I, too, was unaware of it. However, when they got me
    In the chair,
    They explained that I would hear the cracking of eggshell thin bone structures as they widen the openings. I wasn’t surprised by this as I had wondered how compressive effects of the balloon would be permanent. Now I knew.

    So, the process. An hour before you show up, you use some Afrin and take 2 Xanax and 2 Vicodin. When you arrive they should fetch you in a wheelchair (since yer stoned) and get you inside. First, a few blasts of numbing spray in each nostril. Then long strips soaked in decongestant and numbing agent are threaded up your schnozz. No pain, just some pressure. After 10 or 15 these are taken out and more are put in that reach even further back. These hurt a little going in, but more of a slight eye watering pain. 10 minutes mutes later, those are out.

    I was taken across the hall to the procedure room where the doctor made several injections of anesthetic. Just close your eyes and strap on some earbuds and your favorite tunes and you will barely feel them manipulating you…everything is so numb from your nose to your teeth. The inflation of the balloon in each sinus is quick. Just a few seconds (literally 2 or 3) and the deflation instant. Yes, you hear some crunching as the thin bone structures lining areas of the sinus are broken. I felt almost nothing on the maxillary and frontal sinuses.

    When it came time to do the sphenoid sinuses…those that are deep in your head…when doing these, the doc warned “you are going to feel some pressure”. Well, it was more than pressure, it was pain. Not agonizing, but not pleasant either. No worse than a sharp pinch, really and it did not last long. When he went to do the second one…I braced for it. Also painful, but certainly not agonizing.

    By the time it was over and I was recovering I was in a bit of a sweat (it was warm in there, but I think it was a reaction to the situation) and feeling a bit queasy. I also had a whopping headache that was part of the issue. I was warned about this at the start. It feels deep in your skull and is quite unpleasant. I think that, plus the fact that I was starving all played into the queasiness. I have to think that the Vicodin/Xanax cocktail May have also been part of the issue. An ice pack on my forehead helped the pain feel a little less.

    They warn you about possible seepage, blood, etc. you are told if you develop a copious nosebleed that won’t stop for 20minutes that you need to go to the ER. Also, if you develop a light steady trickle of clear fluid, you are to go to the ER (cranial fluid, I assume). I had a little bit of bloody, mucosal seeping so they gave me a gauze mustache.

    They waited to watch my blood pressure decrease (it had gone up 35 point or so) and when it had, they rolled me out to the car and I drove home. I continued to be nauseous for the ride home (they send you home with something to vomit into as well as gauze for any seepage). I stopped for a bottle of water (careful…you may have trouble swallowing due to all the numbing of your mouth) and that helped with the nausea.

    When I got home, I went directly to bed to sleep off the meds and the nausea. Woke after three hours with nothing more than a headache and congestion. Used my saline wash and then took Afrin and Sudafed…as directed by the doc…and ate A normal dinner and watched TV. I went to bed early, after taking another Xanax to help me sleep while sitting upright. I was even able to use my CPAP machine. I slept the night as normal, waking up a few times to stay hydrated. I wound up sleeping til noon. As of right now, I’ve had no other seepage (other than a few clots that come
    Out when I do the saline rinse) and I have essentially what feels like a typical sinus headache. Nothing unmanageable. If I had to, I could even have worked today, though I’d be logy. I expect I’ll have a heDache for a few days.

    Don’t be afraid of this technique. Just know what you are getting into. This is a piece of cake Compared to an endoscopic sinus surgery….that was no fun. First, puking up a stomach full of blood after waking in the recovery room sets the tone. Then removing packing that has been in your nose for three days…that smarts. The. Just the pain of recovery. This technique was so much simpler. I hope it works for me.


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