Comparison: Balloon Vs Traditional Sinus Surgery


Suffering from symptoms of allergies such as hay fever, ragweed, pollen or pet allergies is no laughing matter. An estimated 60 million people or one out of every five Americans suffer from allergies, and they spend over $2 billion dollars per year on doctors visits, over-the-counter and prescription medicines.

Some people become so desperate to relieve their allergy symptoms, they pack up their homes and move to Arizona or some other type of arid climate. However, there are much more rational and convenient alternatives and treatments for such an issue.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Over-the-counter and Prescription

When people suffer from an allergy attack, frequently this means they suffer from histamines, in the body, and over-reaction in the immune system to the particular allergen in the air. Most over-the-counter medications contain anti-histamines to relieve these symptoms or a decongestant.

Often, adults consult a doctor to get prescription medication for their allergies if their allergy symptoms persist, or tend to be serious enough to cause real interruptions in their work and lifestyle. Parent with children, not trusting over-the-counter drugs for their little ones, often consult a physician for help. Prescription allergy medications sometimes attack allergen problems in a different way from the traditional antihistamine/decongestant routine of over-the-counter medications, and the result is you sometimes you get a more powerful drug.

Seeing a Professional Allergist

Seeing a Professional Allergist

You most likely need to seek an allergist if you frequently suffer from:

  • symptoms such as chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion or difficulty breathing
  • hay fever or other allergy symptoms several months each year
  • an immunity to medications and experience side-effects like excessive drowsiness
  • asthma
  • allergies or asthma symptoms making your day-to-day life harder
  • wheezing or coughing, particularly at night or during exercise
  • shortness of breath

An allergist will most likely recommend skin testing, a procedure where up to 40 potential allergens at a time are identified via small needle or patch tests to help identify what are the most likely cause of your allergies.

After your allergist believes they have identified the potential reactor (s), they will normally recommend either allergy shots or a drop medication that you can take underneath the tongue.

The problem comes when patient expectations collide with doctor recommendations. While most patients want relief in a few months, doctors recommend a course of allergy injections for a minimum of three to five years! More than 50 percent of patients never complete the full regimen of drops or injections, and it may take a minimum of 12 months of these treatments to experience real relief.

Traditional Sinus Surgery

Which brings us closer to our subject, which is sinus surgery. Sick of short-sighted solutions, serious sinus sufferers may consider sinus surgery from an ear, nose and throat specialist who specializes in such procedures.

ENT doctors have been doing and achieving great results with sinus surgery for many years. However, there are risks associated with such surgeries. Without being technical, we might describe sinus surgery as being akin to a civil engineer building a tunnel through a mountain. Heavy explosives are used, in the way of cutting and removing tissue within the nose. In general, the goal of sinus surgery is to flush out infected material, open up blocked passages, and keep enough healthy tissue so that your nose and sinuses can function normally.

Side effects of Traditional Sinus Surgery

Traditional Sinus Surgery

There are definite side effects to traditional sinus surgery. Though the end result of a more clear and functioning nose may be achieved, sinus surgery offers many complications including:

  • Failure to resolve the infection
  • Recurrence of the original sinus problem
  • Bleeding
  • Chronic nasal drainage probl3mw
  • Damage to the eyes or base of the skull
  • Pain
  • Reduction or loss of sense of smell or the sense of taste.

Sinus surgery is a serious medical procedure to contemplate. The total recovery time of sinus surgery is up to three or four months, as well as the significant post-surgery pain. If this is something you feel you need, you will need to seriously discuss with your doctor.

Benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty

Fortunately, there now exists a significantly gentler approach to sinus problems called Baloon Sinuplasty. Akin to placing a surgical balloon in the arteries of the heart to increase blood flow, in this procedure doctors insert a medical balloon into the nasal cavities to expand what may be a genetically inferior airflow in the nasal cavities. This increased air flow allows more natural drainage within the nose, and allergens within the body do not fester and irritate like they currently do.

How long does it take?

The insertion of the medical balloon, performed with a local anesthetic, typically takes less than 30 minutes, and while there might be slight bleeding for a day or so, most patients can return to work within three days or less.

Are there side effects?

Most patients bleed slightly overnight, and some patients report a slight burning sensation or unusual popping noises within the airways, but the side effects are significantly less than with traditional sinus surgery. Doctors report that many of their patients never even fill their prescriptions for pain-killers.

In the Hudson Valley area, Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein at the Hudson Valley Sinus Center performs many balloon sinuplasties, and his website gives a detailed doctor’s perspective of the technique. Dr. Rubinstein was the first physician to perform balloon sinuplasty in the Hudson Valley area, as far back as 2008, and his years of experience can give sinus suffer more confidence that his symptoms can be significantly alleviated.

If this is of interest, you can obtain a consultation with Dr. Rubenstine by calling (845) 562-6673 or contact him through his website.