Balloon Sinuplasty Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Experience

I wanted to post a personal account of how Balloon Sinuplasty worked for me. I did not see many testimonials about it online before I did it so I hope others can benefit from my account.

Balloon sinuplasty is a new technology to do sinus surgery. A small catheter with an attached balloon is inserted to the upper sinus. The small balloon is inflated and re-shapes that area of the sinus to create a wider drainage opening. Some people have very narrow sinus drainage openings and when inflammation occurs, it causes bacteria and fluid to become trapped in the upper sinus. This is how an infection happens.


First, I want to explain the extent of suffering I had. My whole life I have had ear infections, sinus infections, allergies, etc and nothing every helped cure me. As a teenager I was told I had allergy symptoms but no specific allergy. I have bought almost every sinus infection treatment I could find. The general practitioner prescribed steroid spray for my nose but taking it for the rest of my life was not a solution. During college I was miserable living in a dorm and was constantly sick. Every time I got a sinus infection I had to take antibiotics to get rid of it. It interfered with school and work. My sinus pressure was not painful or severe (or maybe I was just used to it) that I would not be diagnosed with a sinus infection as often as I had one.

A few years ago I moved to the state I live in now and had some sinus relief. I was ok for a while, but developed terrible sinus allergies. I was sick for about three months with recurring sinus infections. My general practitioner just wanted to put me on allergy medicine. That was when I decided to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat (Otolaryngologist, head and neck surgery specialist). Not only was I sick of being sick, but my coughing and blowing the nose I am sure irritated my co-workers.

My ENT had me take an allergy test and CT scan of my head after two weeks of antibiotics to clear out any infection. This would determine what was wrong with my sinus. I started taking allergy shots (turns out I was allergic to everything they tested me for except food) and was told I would be a candidate for a Balloon Sinuplasty surgery. I was hesitant about surgery so waited to see how the Allergy shots would work out.

Needless to say, I was back in to the doctor pretty quickly with another infection. In the mean time, I had sought the advice of my chiropractor and nutritionist to find alternative methods to solve my problem. Turns out, using a Cayenne pepper-based nose spray from the health food store was painful and did not help either. The idea behind this one is that the pepper kills bacteria. Well, not my bacteria. Sinus rinses have always helped alleviate some problems, but my upper sinus was closed off so the sinus irrigation did not even reach where it needed to be. Sinus irrigation and rinse assists in keeping the sinus clean and are still good to use regularly if you have allergies are particles in air irritate you.

I scheduled the surgery and hoped for the best. The money I spent would offset future expenses on cold medicine, time off work, and tissues.

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The Endoscopic Surgery

The surgery was short and I was only under anesthesia for 2 hours max. I probably took more time coming out of it than the procedure took. The scariest part was the numbing sensation I had in my throat where they put a breathing tube in. The tubes are coated in a numbing substance and it was just a strange sensation I did not like. I felt no pain (of course there was medicine for that) and I had NO STUFFING in my nose. For this procedure there no packing of material in the nose. I used a piece of gauze the next couple of days around the house to catch a drop of blood if there was one. My aunt picked me up, took me to the pharmacy to fill the pain pills which I only needed for two days, and I spent the weekend just taking it easy.

Recovery was only a couple of days! I had the surgery on Friday and was back at work Monday. This was excellent. This surgery involved no cutting or breaking of any sort. If you have a deviated septum it may be necessary for the doctor to fix your septum if it impeded access to the upper sinus. I did not have this issue fortunately.

The only bleeding I experienced was a drip here and there. Nothing serious. I had to schedule a follow-up visit for the week after. During this visit the doctor looked in my upper sinus to see if there was any material left to remove with a suction tube. I did not have any, but this is a necessary follow-up. I did not experience any side-effects.

Balloon Sinuplasty Explained

Never felt better!

Technology has advanced in the past decade and this was a huge improvement over the procedures where bone and material were removed from the sinus to create an opening. I had this the surgery in April of 2009. I have not been sick one day since. The allergy shots have helped as well, but the surgery has made a huge difference. I can breathe through parts of my nose I did not know I had! I no longer need to keep a box of tissues nearby, or cough all of the time from a post-nasal drip. My sinus congestion is now under control. Sinus irrigation still works great if materials in the air becomes irritable like cigarette smoke. I would recommend anyone considering this surgery to seriously consider getting it.

Flu and cold season as arrived and (cross my fingers) I still have not been sick for 6 months!

© 2009 Ellen_C

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Comments 20 comments

Ben 20 months ago

If you want to know how I feel about this, click on my profile and read some of my arwsnes on the same question.I came back from Thailand 3 weeks ago. I had the full mummy makeover,and the tummy tuck and lipo were great, but the breasts were completely the ugliest things i had ever seen. I'm talking saggy below with implants under my chin, It was star wars freaky.So I had them redone the day I flew back to Australia (big mistake) and for the last 3 weeks have had nothing but pain, infected stitches, and no help from the company that sent me over there.If you want to get this done I ask you do one thing that I didn't. Organize post op care in your own country, because in Thailand they give you a bag of drugs and once you're out of the country you're on your own. NO surgeon will touch you, I was even turned away from a private hospital. The basic notion is you took the risk getting major surgery in a 3rd world country, this is what you get'.If I could do it all again I would save the extra money and get it done properly. It's not just you, it affects the whole family when mum can't get off the couch, mum can't drive the car, make the lunches, believe me it's a family affair!!Yes it's cheaper but I have breasts that will be scarred badly for life.Please choose wisely.Best of luck


Yvonne 3 years ago

I had the ballon procedure done last Thursday. Very helpful. Cost $9,385.00


NoInsurance 3 years ago

Hi, paying upfront (without insurance) I really need to know what the general cost is for this procedure. Is it $1,000? or $10,000? Some ballpark amount would be helpful, please. thanks.


Ellen_C profile image

Ellen_C 3 years ago Author

I am doing great I can't recall the last time I had a sinus infection. I have allergies and I can tell when I get some swelling in my nose around allergens that had caused sinus infections since I discontinued allergy shots but I feel 100% better still!


Mike 3 years ago

Thanks for putting this together Ellen. It definitely put me at ease. I just had this done last week and I am starting to feel much better already. Like you, structurally, I was just a mess, so there really wasn't any way around it ;). Curious at 2-3 year followup how you've been doing?

-Mike


lilli 4 years ago

Thank you sooo much for sharing your experience!


Ellen_C profile image

Ellen_C 4 years ago Author

I tried to find the cost I paid and could not find the paperwork. It would vary with your insurance and with your coverage and the doctor's rates. You can ask for the billing codes from your doctor's office and call your insurance company to get the estimated rates for that with your insurance.


daniel 4 years ago

What is the cost of procedure?


kenny 4 years ago

No one time mention price ??? and or if insurance would pay fir this procedure ... .. Would like to know... someone email me and let me know . thanks kennyj1976@gmail.com


Amelia.p 5 years ago

I am having this done in 16 days. I was worried about pain and packing in the nose.

Thank you for this post it was really helpful and put my mind a little more at ease. I was so scared of having a panic attack from not being able to breath through my nose.

Again thank you.


MikeT 5 years ago

I will have this procedure next week, after 10 plus years of agony. My insurance will only pay 75% so i am waiting to hear if my medicare will pick up the rest. Thanks for the testimony on your surgery and if all i hear about this procedure is true i will be pain free soon.


DePuy Pinnacle Recall 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing your experience on your sinus surgery. It is never easy to undergo any kind of operation.

For my share of experience I have had a Pinnacle hip implant a few years ago. Although the surgery was a success, I'm now experiencing severe pain on my hips. There have already been reports and lawsuits filed by other patients who have been injured with the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement device. I'm considering all feasible alternatives and I may look into the methods of filing a lawsuit. You may want to check out the DePuy Pinnacle recall website as well.


kellie0314 5 years ago

I have had 23 years of chronic sinus and ear infections 5 to 8 times a year. It's non-stop. My last ct scan was actually very good except one little spot of fluid that I believe has been making me sick for the last 6 months. 5 rounds of antibiotics and it seems to curtail things but they are back in 3 to 4 weeks. I have been told by 2 ent I would be crazy to have doctor #3 do this on me but I just cant take it amymore. I have missed a lot of work the last 3 months and can't go on like this. It is as good as you say? Cause I will being a renegade if I go against the specialists I saw. 3rd doctor will do it this is all he does and he believes it will help even though my scan looks excellent, I still dont feel well all the time. Please help.


Jennifer 5 years ago

I can't thank you enough for this post. My son who is 7 is undergoing this procedure in a few weeks.


Ellen_C profile image

Ellen_C 5 years ago Author

My insurance covered it. You can always call your insurance and ask if you have the codes to find out. It is not a cosmetic so I imagine most large insurance plans cover it.


hereinky 5 years ago

Thank you so much for the post! It sounds like you feel wonderful! I hope this continues for you.

I just heard about this yesterday and went to my family doctor this morning for a referral. I am so miserable with sinus infections and the sinus pressure and headaches are horrible. If this works, I will consider it a miracle! :) Question: Do you have any idea if most major medical insurance covers this procedure? Thanks for your help!


Ellen_C profile image

Ellen_C 6 years ago Author

Thanks for the comment. I tried several holistic therapies but there was no getting around the structure of my sinus. It was a structure problem and the inflammation could be minimized my holistic approaches, but now my sinuses work they way they were intended to and I do not have to take medications to treat the infections. Because of the surgery, I am completely RX free!


JTS2011 6 years ago

It is great to read first-hand experiences with balloon sinuplasty. these testimonials seem to be hard to come by. All the advice I get is very holistic and not drugs or surgery focused. But I always feel to each his or her own :)


kami 6 years ago

Thank you for your experience. I am considering having this done. You're right not many people have posted about this procedure. My condition seems to be similar to yours allergies but no apparent trigger. Hope this work I will post after.


Barry G. 7 years ago

Hi Ellen. Thanks SO MUCH for posting. My mom has been suffering forever and was recently told she might be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty.

Great to read a firsthand success story!

Have a great day.

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