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Our respected doctors at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital are always looking to learn new forms of surgeries to make sure our procedures are as safe as possible.
If a patient suffers from severe sinusitis, he may experience symptoms such as a permanently clogged nose and even facial pain. Because of this, his quality of life can significantly decrease. Doctors usually prescribe medication, but if these treatments don’t work, surgery should be performed.
The sinuses are a system of cavities in the skull. Humans have four pairs of sinuses: under the eyes, above the eyes, between the eyes and behind them. The walls of these cavities are lined with a tissue called mucosa. Sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinuses, which prompts them to build up mucus.
Balloon sinus surgery, also known as balloon sinuplasty, is a fairly new type of surgery that aims to treat severe rhinosinusitis by inserting a balloon in the nasal passages and clearing them of the built-up mucus.
First, the patient is put under local or general anesthesia. After this, the surgeon inserts a thin tube equipped with a camera and flashlight into the nasal passages. This is done so he can better see what he is doing. After reaching the entrance of the cavity, a small catheter with a balloon attached is slowly slid in. The surgeon slowly inflates the balloon so it can destroy the mucus build-up and slightly rearrange the bones in the cavity to create a clearer airway. When he is done with the balloon, it is taken out and the nasal passages are flushed out with a saline solution. This procedure has become increasingly more popular in the last years because, unlike normal surgery, it doesn’t need to cut cartilage or bone and the recovery period is significantly shorter.
This surgery has a number of different benefits:
This procedure comes with a very short recovery time. The patient can go home only hours after he has undergone balloon sinuplasty. After only 1 or 2 days, he can return to his normal activities. During the week after the surgery, he may have bloody or mucous drainage. In the first day, he is not allowed to blow his nose. In order to promote discharge, it is recommended for patients to sleep with their heads elevated for a few days. A patient fully recovers, usually, in only a week. After this time period, he can perform any type of strenuous activity.
This surgery comes with some risks, although they are very uncommon. The patient can develop an infection or encounter heavy congestion and minor swelling of the nasal passages. In some cases, the structure between the nose and the brain may be damaged, and brain fluid can drip into the nose. Because of the minor restructuring of the bones, the patient’s nose may look slightly different. In very rare cases, instead of improving the sense of smell, the surgery further worsened it.
Rhinosinusitis can be a condition that severely decreases a patient’s quality of life. A constantly plugged nose, facial tenderness and inability to properly breathe can make a person struggle to do certain things. Call Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital at 888.600.5600 and find out if you need balloon sinuplasty.
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Gene C. Liu, M.D.See Profile »
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