Head and neck surgeons at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital are using a minimally-invasive means of treating chronic sinusitis and clearing blocked sinus passageways.
Jefferson otolaryngologists are performing sinuplasty using a balloon-tipped catheter, which is threaded over a guidewire and inserted through the nose and into the sinus cavity. The procedure, known as balloon sinuplasty, is designed, to open up sinus drainage pathways.
“It’s similar to angioplasty, the procedure heart surgeons use to clear out clogged coronary arteries,” said Marc Rosen, M.D., assistant professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. “When the sinus balloon is inflated, it gently restructures and widens the walls of the passageway while maintaining the integrity of the sinus lining.”
Sinusitis is an inflammation or infection of the air-filled cavities that surround the nose and eyes. It can cause swelling and facial pain, debilitating headaches and nasal congestion with discharge.
Acute sinusitis, triggered by colds or bad allergies, usually clears up within weeks. But more than 30 million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis, meaning symptoms last longer than two months or regularly recur. Patients are treated with antibiotics, decongestants or steroid-containing nasal sprays, but about a quarter of them do not respond to these treatments. More than 350,000 Americans undergo surgery each year for treatment of this problem.
In balloon sinuplasty, which is used in conjunction with minimally invasive Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) performed at Jefferson, the balloon device is inflated and it stretches the sinus opening back to its original size or a little bigger, allowing for drainage of the sinus, thus putting an end to the sinusitis cycle. The balloon is then deflated and removed.
And since, in many instances, no tissue or bone is removed during this procedure, there may be reduced bleeding associated with the surgery. The need for uncomfortable nasal packing is also eliminated.
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