Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon Sinuplasty in Spring, TXSinus infections can create pressure that makes your face hurt; it can feel as if your head’s going to explode. Clinically known as sinusitis, sinus infections are quite common, affecting an estimated 35 million Americans at least once each year. While sinusitis is a short-term problem for most, especially during the cold and flu season, for others it is a chronic problem. Patients who have sinus blockage all the time may need surgery to open their nasal passages.

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) has long been the surgery used to achieve this. Dr. Ben Cilento is an expert sinus surgeon and regularly performs both simple and complex sinus surgeries to help chronic sinus sufferers find relief. Dr. Cilento is one of the foremost surgeons in the development and use of balloon sinuplasty. As a means t0 alleviate the symptoms of sinusitis, he offers balloon sinuplasty in the clinic under local anesthesia. He now also offers full IV sedation with Board Certified Anesthesiologists. Balloon sinuplasty can achieve results similar to surgery with virtually no chance of complications and no recovery time, but some people are nervous about having anything done to their nose while they are awake. This concern is something that Dr. Ben Cliento understands, which is why he offers IV sedation in a state of the art office setting to help alleviate the fear of having a procedure.

What is sinusitis?

The sinuses are inter-connected cavities in the skull that are normally filled with air. Their walls are lined with mucus-secreting membranes. Hairs in those membranes sweep out the mucus so it can drain out of your nose. When those membranes become inflamed or infected, they block the nasal passages, keeping the fluid from draining. This is called sinusitis.
Normally, sinusitis is a short-term scenario during cold or allergy season. This is acute sinusitis. However, sometimes the condition becomes chronic, where patients have the condition majority of the time. They will take antibiotics to combat infections that keep recurring in the blocked sinuses.
If sinusitis like this becomes severe, it may require surgery to remove pieces of bone and tissue blocking the nasal passages, allowing the sinuses to clear. This is called Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS).

What is balloon sinuplasty?

Traditional sinus surgery or Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) removes bone and tissue to enlarge the sinus openings. The goal is to make enough room so that the sinuses can drain normally. In most cases, Dr. Cilento performs this surgery endoscopically. If this isn’t possible, an opening is made into the sinus from inside the mouth or very rarely through the skin of the face. There are a number of risks and possible complications with this surgery, from chronic nasal drainage to a reduction or loss of sense of smell or taste. Recovery takes from 3-5 days, and strenuous activity needs to be avoided for a longer period.
Balloon sinuplasty was approved by the FDA in 2005. This minimally invasive procedure uses a tiny balloon, similar to those used to clear blocked arteries in balloon angioplasty, to dilate the blocked nasal passages.

Is balloon sinuplasty safe?

This procedure is safer than traditional sinuplasty. Because it is only minimally invasive, balloon sinuplasty doesn’t have the risks of bleeding and infection, and post-operative pain is far less. Plus, this treatment doesn’t limit any future treatments or procedures. In other words, you are not burning any bridges if you wind up needing more extensive surgery in the future.

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What are the Risks Of Balloon Sinuplasty?

Since balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure, risks are minimal but may include: bleeding, infection or swelling. The great majority of patients experience relief from the symptoms of sinusitis, soon after a balloon sinuplasty procedure. Studies indicate that most patients experience continued sinus health for up to 2 years after the procedure.

AM I a good candidate for sinuplasty?

Patients with severe structural issues such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps are still good candidates for balloon sinuplasty with Dr Cilento. The reason for this is that Texas Sinus & Snoring has a state of the art facility that can handle all levels of surgery in an in-office setting.

We can straighten a septum, clean out the ethmoid sinuses, remove polyps and even place complicated implants to speed recovery while still enjoying a quick and easy “in-office” experience. Balloon sinuplasty simply enlarges normal passageways with gentle outward pressure. When structural problems are causing the blockage, more traditional forms of surgery are often combined with sinuplasty in order to correct the problems. Also, balloon sinuplasty dilates the blocked passages, but it doesn’t remove chronically inflamed tissue. If the key is tissue removal, traditional endoscopic sinus surgery can be combined with balloon sinuplasty in order to comprehensively treat your individual problem.

What to expect from balloon sinuplasty

What type of anesthesia is used for balloon sinuplasty?

When first performed beginning in 2005, balloon sinuplasty was usually done in the hospital under general anesthesia. But that is changing, as procedures now can commonly be done in an office setting with the patient under only local anesthesia. Dr. Cilento has designed a state of the art facility with an advanced in office OR that is accredited by the AAAASF and uses only board certified anesthesiologists for your safety and comfort. He will discuss your options with you during your consultation and make sure your needs are taken care of.


Although it can’t be used for all patients, balloon sinuplasty offers a much easier solution for chronic sinusitis. The procedure doesn’t involve any removal of bone, cartilage, or tissue. Because of this, there isn’t really any downtime or loss of work. Traditional sinus surgery has to be performed with the patient under general anesthesia, and the patient will have from 3-5 days of recovery time, followed by necessary limiting of strenuous exercise or activity for a couple weeks.

Increasingly, balloon sinuplasty is performed with the patient under various forms of local anesthesia. There is minimal or no bleeding and low post-procedure pain. There are also very few restrictions on activity.


Unlike traditional sinuplasty, balloon sinuplasty requires no cutting or removal of bone and tissue. The procedure is pretty simple.

  • An IV can be inserted and medication can be given to make the patient sleepy. This can be just mild sedation all the way to general anesthesia. Either way an adequate amount of local anesthesia is given to numb the sinus areas.
  • A guide catheter with an endoscope is inserted into the nostril.
  • The guide catheter reaches the sinus opening, and is then advanced into the blocked sinus.
  • A balloon catheter is placed onto the guide and is moved up to the opening of the blocked sinus.
  • The balloon is slowly inflated, removing blockages and facilitating drainage.
  • Saline solution is sprayed through the catheter into the inflamed sinus to flush out the pus and mucus.
  •  Cultures are taken to identify any pathogens present including sensitivities to direct appropriate antibiotic therapy. The catheter is removed.

When the balloon is inflated in the inflamed passageway, it widens and instantly restructures the walls of the sinus, without harming the sinus lining in any way. This is a permanent change and results in “remodeling” of the sinuses from that point on.


Balloon sinuplasty is considered relatively non-invasive, meaning it doesn’t cause much trauma to the nasal area. This makes for minimal recovery time. Most patients can return to work and their normal activities after one day. Dr Cilento will make sure that all your airway needs are taken care of in the most efficient and non-invasive way possible.

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To learn more about sinus surgery or to schedule a consultation at our office in Spring TX, please call 346-413-9313

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