Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon Sinuplasty vs. Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Explained

October 23, 2020

6 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

When you experience recurring sinus problems, it’s likely that you’ll eventually find yourself researching sinus surgeries or, more specifically, balloon sinuplasty vs. endoscopic sinus surgery.

Balloon sinuplasty and functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) are both effective chronic sinusitis treatments that can relieve a variety of uncomfortable sinus issues. These issues can expand to include everything from nasal congestion and sinus headaches to snoring and nose whistling.

Obviously, these issues can negatively impact your day-to-day life, and sinus surgery or balloon sinuplasty can help you start living and breathing better again. However, these two treatment options do vary. It’s important to understand the differences and to speak with your doctor regarding FESS and balloon sinuplasty in Houston.

Let’s cover the benefits and differences of balloon sinuplasty vs endoscopic sinus surgery.

Watch Now: Balloon Sinuplasty vs. Traditional Sinus Surgery 

General Overview: What are balloon sinuplasty and FESS?

Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty is a modern and relatively new chronic sinusitis treatment that is quick, safe, and effective. The balloon sinuplasty surgery benefits include long-lasting results and an incredibly fast recovery time. The whole procedure takes less than 30 minutes in total and can be performed in-office. In fact, it’s such a minimally invasive procedure that it can be done with only IV sedation as opposed to general anesthesia. 

During the procedure, a balloon catheter expands your nasal passages. The sinuses are flushed, the balloon is deflated and removed, and the procedure is complete.

Learn More: IV sedation for balloon sinuplasty

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

FESS is an outpatient procedure that can last up to two hours and requires general anesthesia. Endoscopic sinus surgery requires the cutting and removal of bone and tissue to clear sinus passages. This removal will allow for better drainage, less blockage, and improved breathing.

The differences: Balloon sinuplasty vs. endoscopic sinus surgery

Whether you should undergo balloon sinuplasty or endoscopic sinus surgery depends on your circumstances and experiences. Here are the most important differences and similarities between the two treatment options.

The procedure itself

The primary difference between these two treatment options is the procedure itself and what’s involved. With FESS, tissue and bone are cut and removed. With balloon sinuplasty, no cutting and removal are required. Because of this, there is a difference in whether or not general anesthesia is used, how long the treatment takes, and whether or not the treatment can be completed in-office. While both procedures are safe and effective, balloon sinuplasty is certainly less invasive than FESS.

FAQ: How long does the balloon sinuplasty procedure take?

The entire balloon sinuplasty procedure can take as little as 20 minutes. So, how long does sinus surgery take to perform? Endoscopic sinus surgery can take anywhere from 1-3 hours, making balloon sinuplasty the quicker and more effective option.

FAQ: Are you put to sleep during balloon sinuplasty? 

Patients are not typically put to sleep during balloon sinuplasty. Instead, many patients opt to use IV sedation, which leaves most patients in a “twilight sleep.” In this state, patients are awake and can respond to a doctor’s questions, but the vast majority of patients do not remember the procedure afterward.

FAQ: Is endoscopic sinus surgery painful? 

During the procedure itself, patients will be asleep. However, during recovery, patients will likely experience some discomfort. Since traditional sinus surgeries such as FESS do involve the cutting of bone or tissue, patients will need to use packing. However, your doctor will prescribe you pain medication to help you throughout the duration of your recovery from the procedure. 

Recovery time

While it takes your nose 1-2 days to fully heal after balloon sinuplasty, patients are typically able to return to non-strenuous activities 48 hours after the procedure. With FESS, you will likely need to take more time off of work (generally up to 1 week), and it will take 1-3 weeks for your nose to feel fully recovered. Light bleeding and swelling can be experienced post-procedure in either treatment option. 

Problems treated

Both treatment options are meant to improve drainage, remove blockage, and better your life. The main goal is to open up your sinus passages so you can breathe better and suffer from fewer sinus complications. 

Recommended procedure

Since balloon sinuplasty is less invasive and requires a shorter recovery time, why would a patient opt to have endoscopic sinus surgery? While balloon sinuplasty can help with a very wide variety of sinus and sinus infection-related issues, very severe sinus problems may require the more invasive approach of FESS. Although more invasive than balloon sinuplasty, traditional sinus surgeries such as FESS are still safe and effective treatment options that patients with severe sinus issues may wish to consider.

Balloon sinuplasty for patients with high-deductible insurance plans

For patients with private insurance with a high deductible, balloon sinuplasty presents a compelling option that balances both cost and safety. High-deductible plans often mean higher out-of-pocket expenses before insurance coverage kicks in, making it crucial for patients to consider both the financial and medical aspects of their treatment options.

By opting for balloon sinuplasty, patients with high-deductible insurance plans can benefit from a cost-effective, efficient, and safe solution to their chronic sinusitis. This procedure provides long-lasting relief from sinus issues and minimizes the financial burden often associated with more invasive surgeries and the ongoing costs of multiple doctor appointments and antibiotic prescriptions.

Affordability and fewer follow-up costs

Balloon sinuplasty is typically performed in-office and does not require general anesthesia, reducing the overall cost of the procedure. This can be particularly advantageous for patients with high-deductible plans, as the cost of general anesthesia and hospital fees associated with traditional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) are avoided.

Furthermore, the quick recovery time associated with balloon sinuplasty — often allowing patients to return to non-strenuous activities within 48 hours — means less time off work and fewer follow-up visits, translating to additional savings.

Reduced risk of complications

In addition to being more affordable, balloon sinuplasty is a safer, minimally invasive alternative to traditional sinus surgeries. Unlike FESS, which involves cutting and removal of bone and tissue, balloon sinuplasty uses a small balloon catheter to gently expand the sinus passages without incisions.

This significantly lowers the risk of complications and postoperative discomfort, making it an appealing choice for those concerned about the potential risks and recovery challenges associated with more invasive procedures.

Want to learn more about balloon sinuplasty vs endoscopic sinus surgery?

If you’re suffering from chronic sinusitis, let’s talk. At Kaplan Sinus Relief, we help the people of Houston breathe better every day through procedures like balloon sinuplasty that can provide you with long-term relief. We have the skills you need to experience the lasting benefits of traditional and new sinus surgeries.

To request an appointment, call us at 713-766-1818 or contact us online today. Better breathing starts at Kaplan Sinus Relief.

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