Hope! In-office Balloon Sinuplasty, Turbinate Reduction Can Improve Breathing, Sinus Woes

If you’ve ever despaired of finding a solution that can help you breathe better and actually improve ongoing sinus and nasal health problems, there is hope!   In-office techniques like balloon sinuplasty and turbinate reduction offer patients relief from pailful symptoms like chronic infection, congestion, post-nasal drip, headaches, snoring and difficulty breathing.

These and other treatment approaches can help many patients break free from sinus and nasal obstruction symptoms without resorting to more invasive, traditional surgery.

Below, learn more about these procedures, their benefits and whether they may be right for you.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive technique used to expand the sinuses to relieve the symptoms of chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis. Balloon sinuplasty is ideal for patients whose sinusitis is caught early. It can be effective for people with long-standing chronic conditions, as well.

In general, balloon sinuplasty can be beneficial for patients who experience symptoms that include:

  • Recurrent infections (when antibiotics don’t help)
  • Sinus headaches 
  • Pain and aching around the eyes and behind the cheeks
  • Difficulties breathing through the nose
  • Chronic postnasal drip 
  • Other longstanding nasal problems

How Balloon Sinuplasty Works

Balloon sinuplasty is performed through the nostrils using a flexible instrument called a catheter. Once inserted into the sinus cavity, a tiny balloon is inflated to gently expand and widen the sinus passages so sinuses can drain and function properly. Once the sinuses are cleared, the balloon and catheter is then removed.

This technique eliminates the need for incisions, so the risk of infection and is minimized healing is much faster than it would be with a traditional “open” surgical procedure. 

It is performed in-office as an outpatient procedure under sedation or general anesthesia. Patients typically can resume normal activities virtually immediately. In some cases, balloon sinuplasty may also be performed along with other procedures to address additional issues, or as part of a patient’s individual treatment plan. 

Turbinates 101 

Turbinates can be describes as curved, spongey shelves or tissue masses located along the walls of the sinus, protruding slightly into the sinus cavity and extending into the nose from the sides. 

Their role is to help warm and filter air before it enters your lower airways and lungs. They function as filters, and also play an important role in preventing germs and pollutants from causing health issues and illness like upper respiratory infections. 

Enlarged Turbinates 

Enlarged turbinates, also called hypertrophic turbinates or turbinate hypertrophy is one of the most common causes of nasal obstruction and can result in a a host of miserable symptoms and a negative impact on quality of life.

In some cases, the turbinates grow large enough to cause breathing problems, blocking the flow of air and making sinus drainage difficult, leading to chronic congestion and sinus infections. 

You have three turbinates on each side, however, the lower turbinate is the largest and what causes nasal obstruction. 

Even when turbinates are not oversized, colds and allergies, or other sources of chronic inflammation may cause swelling and enlargement that can prevent normal breathing and increase the risk of prolonged sinus infections.

When treatment with medications are not effective, then shrinking the turbinates can offer significant improvement in symptoms of nasal obstruction.

Turbinate Reduction

Turbinate reduction reduces the size of the turbinates while maintaining its important functions. There are number of factors that will determine the specific technique used for turbinate reduction, depending each individual patient’s case.  These factors include coexisting conditions requiring more extensive surgery, such as a deviated nasal septum and sinus disease.  

Turbinate reduction is typically performed in patients who experience chronic infections or significant breathing impairment/nasal obstruction, and whose symptoms can’t be resolved by the use of antihistamines or antibiotics.

For many patients, an outpatient procedure in the office can be considered. In this case, turbinate reduction is a minimally invasive procedure that’s used to shrink the size of the turbinates so air flows normally and sinus drainage issues are corrected. The procedure can remove bone as well as mucus membranes, depending on each patient’s individual symptoms and needs. 

Turbinate Reduction Procedures 

The procedure begins by numbing the nose. Turbinate reduction is performed through the nostrils using an endoscope, which means there are no visible incisions. The turbinate material is carefully removed utilizing specially designed instruments or, in some cases, laser energy. Once the material is removed, radio-frequency energy may also potentially be used to prevent any post-treatment bleeding and to make recovery more comfortable.

In-office Radio-Frequency (RF) Ablative Therapy

In-office radio-frequency (RF) ablation for turbinate reduction, or sometimes called in-office RF reduction, is a relatively minor procedure that can be highly beneficial for eligible patients. 

In-office RF reduction of the turbinates works by “shaking up” the microscopic cells causing the fleshy part of the turbinate to dry and scar. Using radio-frequency current, the treatment technique causes thermal ablation of the soft tissues, essentially leading to shrinkage of the turbinate over time and resulting in improved nasal airway flow. 

Treatment is typically quick, about 20-30 minutes, depending on the individual, of course.  After the procedure, many patients can return to work or school right away. Turbinates may swell slightly and become dry and crusty, and you’ll need to keep them moisturized. The effects from the procedure are not fully realized immediately after treatment.

During your recovery period, you can expect the outside layer of the turbinate will begin to crust, shed, and reduce in size. This allows you to breathe better through your nose as it dries out the lining of the turbinate.

After 2-3 weeks your turbinate will shed, revealing a smaller turbinate.

Turbinate Reduction, Sinus Relief and Better Breathing

In many patients, reducing the size of the turbinates enables the sinuses to drain and function more efficiently, eliminating some of the most common causes of sinus infections as well as symptoms like headache, post-nasal drip and even snoring. 

With balloon sinuplasty and turbinate reduction procedures, relief from nasal obstruction and chronic sinus health problems can be more attainable than ever, providing potentially life-changing results. Balloon sinuplasty and in-office turbinate reduction are safe, effective, and can offer real results with less discomfort and in less time than you may have thought possible. 

Balloon sinuplasty and in-office turbinate reduction are just a few of the most advanced, breakthrough techniques and treatments available that can help significantly improve your sinus and nasal symptoms and quality of life. 

Regardless of how complicated your case is, there are treatment options that can help and a treatment plan that’s right for you. Take back your life from chronic nasal and sinus struggles and start breathing easier! 

Ohio Sinus Institute specializes in nasal and sinus disorders, offering individualized, compassionate, and informed patient care, and treatment options that incorporate the latest technological advances—for even the most complex cases. 

Contact our office to learn more and schedule a consultation. We can help you find the right treatment approach and your path to long-lasting relief. Call today!