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What is involved in a balloon sinuplasty procedure?

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Performed under general or local anesthesia, sinuplasty involves the insertion of a guidance wire and a small balloon into the sinus cavity via the nostril, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. The balloon is then inflated to enlarge the sinus opening. Once the sinus is opened and widened, the balloon is deflated and withdrawn. Upon removal of the balloon and wire, the sinus remains open and normal sinus function and drainage is restored.

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Sinuplasty is performed in place of traditional sinus surgery that requires forceps, microdebriders and other endoscopic instruments. Sinuplasty is used to treat conditions such as headaches around the eyes, difficulty breathing through the nose and chronic nasal problems, explains Cedars-Sinai. Chronic bad breath, chronic bad taste in the mouth and recurring sinus infections that are unresponsive to medication are also treated using sinuplasty.

Individuals with extensively scarred sinus openings are not good candidates for sinuplasty, indicates Johns Hopkins Medicine. Additionally, sinuplasty does not effectively remove nasal polyps.

Recovery from sinuplasty is generally faster than recovery from conventional sinus surgery, notes Cedars-Sinai. Since sinuplasty is minimally invasive and does not require an incision or removal of tissue or bone, patients typically experience less bleeding, bruising, swelling and risk of infection. Nasal packing is not always needed after sinuplasty.

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