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Balloon Sinuplasty - Less invasive, Quicker recovery

Dr Anita Krishnan explains how this technique works

Chronic sinusitis or rhinosinusitis is a condition that affects almost 134 million people in India/which means one in eight do not have a healthy sinus. The number of affected persons is more in the metros like Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi thanks to the higher levels of pollution and lesser green spaces and fresh air. Everyone has four types of sinuses which are hollow cavities in the bones around the cheek bones and eyes. Each sinus has an opening, through which accumulated mucus can drain. When this drainage is blocked, due to allergic reactions, microbial infections etc, it results in sinusitis. The function of the normal sinuses is to help in cleaning up the air one breathes, much like the filter in a carburetor of an automobile.

The most prevalent surgical procedure used to open blocked sinuses is functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). However, al-though FESS is able to clear blocked sinuses it may not necessarily return normal functioning to the sinuses. The removal of the bone and tissue also leads to scar-ring, bleeding and post-operative discomfort to the patient.

Balloon sinuplasty is the fruit of combining endoscopic technique with emerging technology and clinical research proves the balloon sinuplasty method of surgically addressing sinusitis is a proven, minimally invasive option to dilate blocked sinuses.

The technique uses a small, flexible, sinus balloon catheter, which is placed into the nose to reach the sinuses. This is gradually inflated to gently restructure the previously-blocked sinus passage, maintaining the integrity of the sinus lining and restoring nor-mal sinus drainage and function quite similar to a cardiac balloon angioplasty. Its advantages over conventional surgery are many being much less riskier than other surgical methods with no adverse events being reported. Patients received significant relief from their symptoms at multiyear follow-ups.

This method is less invasive, with less pain, less recovery time (just 24 hours for most patients), less scarring, less bleeding and less follow-up procedures. It can be used safely in tandem with other medical therapies or sinus surgery techniques. It does not limit future treatment options, and is safer for people who are prone to excessive bleeding or those in the ICU.

Article by Dr. Anita Krishnan, published in Times of India – Wellness Supplement dated 4th Jan. 2014

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