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Chronic sinusitis is rough. Those stuck with it aren’t exactly happy campers with their choices for treatment. In serious and most chronic cases, it’s not an easy fix. Suggested options like nasal irrigation, antibiotics, steroid pills and sprays just won’t cut it.
The only option left is surgery. It’s obvious why you might be a bit skittish at the thought of someone slicing around inside your nostrils.
Luckily, a recent study has shone a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you’ve experienced acute sinusitis, the kind that lasts under four weeks, the symptoms are torturous.
Constant congestion, runny nose, headaches, facial pressure, cough and fever all become unwelcome companions.
Then there’s some who have it longer than 3 months at which point it’s known as chronic and they have to start thinking about FESS.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery has long been the go-to for treating things like sinusitis and nasal polyps. It involves the use of a thin camera with a light on a rod. Your doctor will do the surgery entirely in the nostril and you get to go home on the same day.
FESS is beneficial in that it relieves symptoms; helps you breathe better and can improve your sense of smell. Some though, would prefer to avoid surgery and the damaging of tissue. Enter the balloon.
Balloon Sinuplasty or Balloon Dilation is a newer, less invasive way of opening up your sinuses. A catheter is threaded through the nostril and into the sinus cavity at which point a balloon is inflated, opening up the sinus. Pretty straight forward.
The whole thing is done in an office and takes only a day or two to recover from, providing instant relief. Up until a recent study however, people weren’t sure if it was as good as traditional surgery.
Dr. CT Nguyen and his Houston-based Sinus & Allergy Clinic was one of several doctors who participated in the REMODEL trial and study linked above. It took patients of both FESS and Balloon Dilation and compared results over a year.
Using the aptly named SNOT 20 (20-item Sino Nasal Outcome Test) to measure their symptoms, both groups were asked about:
-Need for revision surgeries
-Even work productivity and absenteeism.
The results were clear. Balloon Sinuplasty is a safe, effective alternative to FESS with faster recovery, less bleeding, use of painkillers and removal of dead tissue. Yikes.
It’s obvious why someone would prefer not to have to undergo the usual surgery to get rid of their rampant sinusitis. We’re fortunate that we have such a simple alternative. It can be over with after a quick visit and a much smoother, more comfortable recovery.