Top 10 Myths About Endoscopic Sinus Surgery and Balloon Sinuplasty

1.) My nose will need to be packed and the packing removal is very uncomfortable.

In the past, many sinus doctors would pack the patients’ noses with gauze and remove the packing a day or days later. Ask anyone who has had nasal surgery with packing, and they will remark about how uncomfortable it was even years later! Fortunately, packing is not required at all. Newer technologies have obviated the need for it. Whether having traditional sinus surgery or in-office Balloon Sinuplasty, nasal packing is no longer required. It’s a good idea to seek a sinus surgeon who does not use nasal packing regularly.

2.) Sinus surgery doesn’t work very well and often needs to be repeated.

The fact is that the vast majority of patients that have sinus surgery and/or Balloon Sinuplasty have significant improvements in quality of life. In a recent analysis of 45 separate studies conducted regarding quality of life improvements after surgery, all of those studies showed significant quality of life improvements in anywhere from 77% to 97% of patients enrolled in the studies. Sinus surgery is highly effective.

Nonetheless, revision sinus surgery needs to be performed in 15-20% of cases with many of the revisions related to regrowth of nasal polyps.

3.) The recovery is very difficult and takes a long time.

Typically, after traditional sinus surgery, most patients require a few days to a couple of weeks (if doing manual labor) away from work due to some congestion and drainage. With in-office Balloon Sinuplasty, there is little to no “down time.” Most patients return to normal activity within 1-2 days after the procedure.

4.) My eyes will get black and blue.

There are usually no external changes such as getting black and blue unless someone is having cosmetic nasal work done at the same time.

5.) Sinus Surgery/Balloon Sinuplasty will not be covered by my insurance.

The fact is that both traditional sinus surgery and Balloon Sinuplasty are covered by the vast majority of insurance plans; however, there are a few plans that still do not cover Balloon Sinuplasty. Depending upon your plan, there may be pre-authorization required prior to approval of sinus surgery or in-office Balloon Sinuplasty. The office in which you are receiving care should handle this for you.

6.) I’m not sure that in-office Balloon Sinuplasty is safe.

Over 35,000 in office Balloon Sinuplasty procedures have been performed to date with an outstanding safety profile.

7.) Every patient with sinus problems is a candidate for in-office Balloon Sinuplasty.

Many patients have severe structural issues such as a deviated nasal septum or large nasal polyps. These folks are best served by traditional sinus surgery done in a hospital or ambulatory surgery facility under general anesthesia; however, many patients without such severe structural issues can benefit from in-office Balloon Sinuplasty which is done under local and topical anesthesia and has little to no “down time.”

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8.) Nasal polyps always re-occur and there is no good treatment for them.

While it is true that a percentage of nasal polyps can re-occur, treatment options and technology have provided substantial advances in sinus surgery and decrease the likelihood of re-occurrence. Examples of this include intra-operative navigation which serves to function much like a navigation system for your automobile. It allows surgeons to precisely identify where they are at all times and thus provide additional safety measures.

Also, the Propel™ sinus implant is a substantial technological advance in the treatment of chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps. It is a dissolvable implant that slowly releases topical steroids and helps keep the sinuses open, prevents scar tissue formation, shrinks nasal polyps, and decreases the likelihood that polyps will come back after they are removed.

9.) I’m not sure I can tolerate the in-office Balloon Sinuplasty procedure. I’m afraid it will hurt.

Although some people may be reluctant to have an in-office procedure, a recent in-office Balloon Sinuplasty study revealed that 82% of patients found it tolerable or highly tolerable while 15% found it somewhat tolerable. With the use of local and topical anesthetics, most patients tolerate the procedure very well and describe the sensation as pressure more than pain.

10.) I’m not sure in-office Balloon Sinuplasty will be effective in relieving my symptoms.

In-office Balloon Sinuplasty is a safe and effective procedure. Studies demonstrate clinical and statistical improvement in patient quality of life and radiographic outcomes at 52+ weeks post procedure.

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