Chronic nasal congestion is a regular complaint seen by GPs and one of the more common causes is chronic sinusitis. Symptoms can include facial pain, pressure inside the head or ears, difficulty breathing through the nose, tootheache, loss of the sense of smell or taste, headaches and sore throats.
If sinusitis lasts three months or longer it is classed as chronic sinusitis. Many people manage their condition with nasal sprays, antibiotics and steroids but unfortunately some people do not respond to conservative medical treatment and in recent times a surgical procedure called a FESS or Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery has risen to popularity as an effective operation for treatment of chronic sinusitis. But even successful operations have their limitations.
Some of the problems associated with FESS are immediate post-operative pain, bleeding and a relatively long recovery period of up to two weeks depending on the severity of the sinusitis. Experts believe these common problems are probably due to the way that the sinus tissue is removed during the operation. As such bone and cartilage is cut from the nasal cavity using a rotating blade and an extractor causing trauma to the surrounding tissues which causes bleeding and scarring during the healing process.
However an ENT surgeon at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Mr Michael O’Connell, is now using a new technology called Balloon-assisted Sinuplasty which has been developed in the United States, and uses the same type of technology cardiologists use to widen clogged arteries around the heart. Mr Michael O’Connell, ENT consultant at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital said, "I have now been using this technique for the last 18 months and the results have been excellent, this technology allows sinus surgeons like myself, easier and safer access to a difficult area".
Balloon sinuplasty is a relatively simple procedure which is recognised by most private medical insurance companies. It is used to treat chronic sinusitis and reduces some of the common problems previously associated with FESS. Following general anaesthetic, a guided wire is fed from the nose into the sinus cavities and a tiny balloon is then fed along the wire to the blockage. Once safely anchored in place, the balloon is gently inflated displacing the fine bone at the sinus junction without damaging the delicate membrane lining. The balloon is then deflated and removed. The surgery usually takes about 30 - 45 minutes.
Patients who have balloon sinuplasty can usually leave hospital on the same day, routinely recover within 24 hours and, return to work within 48 hours. Because it is a non-cutting procedure, patients experience little or no bleeding and scarring. This compares with the ‘conventional cutting’ surgery where up to 15% of patients require additional treatments. Only 6% are currently reported to require additional treatments having undergone Balloon Sinuplasty.
For more information about Balloon Sinuplasty, ENT consultant Mr O'Connell, fixed price self-pay packages for treatment or to book an appointment to see the consultant please call us on 01293 778 906, email us at email@example.com, or simply complete our online enquiry form.