6 Myths about Balloon Sinus Surgery
Balloon sinus surgery sounds almost too good to be true. So it’s little wonder that quite a few myths have grown up around it. Let’s set the record straight!
1. Balloon sinus surgery is experimental
Sure once upon a time it was an experimental procedure. Every medical procedure starts out that way. Balloon sinus surgery (balloon sinuplasty or BSP) hasn’t been considered experimental in many years. It was FDA approved in 2005 and has been performed hundreds of thousands of times since then.
2. It can treat any nasal or sinus condition
While balloon sinus surgery is great for treating chronic sinusitis that has not responded well to other medical interventions, it is not for all people and all conditions.
BSP is not effective for:
• Deviated septum
• Sleep apnea
• Fungal infections of the sinuses
It also will not wax your car or walk the dog. However, what it does (restore proper sinus drainage), it does extremely well.
3. It must be performed multiple times because it doesn’t last
Balloon sinus surgery is highly effective in treating chronic sinusitis. It is not performed as a temporary measure. The relief it provides is permanent and lasts for years. The procedure does not typically need to be repeated. However, the procedure may need to be performed on more than one sinus cavity.
Traditional sinus surgery can lead to scarring that creates a need for more surgery. This is not the case with balloon sinus surgery. Tissue is not destroyed and bones are not cut.
4. Recovery is long and painful
You might have heard someone complain about the pain involved with the recovery after sinus surgery. They weren’t talking about balloon sinus surgery; that is for sure. The horror stories of the pain and discomfort associated with removing nasal packing don’t apply to this procedure.
Because the focus is on the sinus, the nasal passages aren’t affected. There is no need to use packing to apply pressure and reduce bleeding. Where the recovery from traditional surgery might have been weeks, with BSP it is only days.
The most difficult part of recovery after BSP is remembering not to blow your nose for the first 24 hours.
5. The balloon is left behind
The procedure is referred to balloon sinuplasty because a balloon like device is temporarily inflated to open the sinus passage and restore natural drainage. The inflation process creates tiny microfractures in the bone that cause the bone to conform to the shape of the balloon. The balloon is not left behind. It is removed as part of the procedure. There are no stints or anything else that would cause you a problem with a metal detector or any other screening equipment used at airports.
6. It is expensive and not covered by insurance
Because BSP can be performed in the ENT’s office under local anesthetic, the cost is a fraction of the cost of traditional sinus surgery. There is no need for an operating room, an anesthesiologist, or an overnight stay. These all combine to make BSP an economical alternative to other costly sinus procedures.
Medicare covers balloon sinus surgery. Almost all private insurance companies cover the procedure as well.
In terms of the cost of your personal time and the medical care received, BSP is quite affordable.
It’s also hard to put a price on the relief you get when the pain and pressure of chronic sinusitis is removed from your life.
Don’t fear the myths; get relief from the facts. If you suffer from chronic sinus infections or sinusitis, call today for a consultation. BSP may be the answer for you.