- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
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