Treating Chronic Sinusitis with Minimally Invasive Procedure; Now Performed as Outpatient, Same-Day Procedure in Doctor's Office

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Sinus area close-up: frontal sinus (green), ethmoid sinus (purple), sphenoid sinus (yellow), and maxillary sinus (blue).

Sinusitis affects 37 million people each year, making it one of the most common health problems in the United States. It significantly impacts an individual’s physical, functional, and emotional quality of life.

Patients suffer from headache, facial discomfort, nasal congestion, nasal drainage, loss of the sense of smell, and malaise.

Until recently, sinusitis patients were limited to two treatment options: medical therapy such as antibiotics and topical nasal steroids or conventional sinus surgery including functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS).

Medical therapy can help alleviate symptoms for some patients. However, for 20-25% of sufferers, this form of treatment alone is not adequate. For these patients, sinus surgery is their next hope in finding relief.

Balloon catheter dilation of paranasal sinus ostia, or balloon sinuplasty, is an effective minimally invasive technique for treating chronic sinusitis, and a leading-edge procedure of our minimally invasive ENT program at Stony Brook.

FESS is a conventional operation that requires bone and tissue removal in order to open up blocked sinus passageways. With no desirable treatment, more than 600,000 people nationwide are left living with their sinus condition.

The current revolution in minimally invasive procedures for endoscopic sinus surgery has led to the development of the new technology called balloon sinuplasty, which provides an effective alternative to FESS.

Our ENT specialistsSidrah M. Ahmad, MD, Ghassan J. Samara, MD, and Abbas A. Younes, MD — are experienced in using the sinuplasty technology to treat both adults and children with chronic sinusitis.

In 2007, we became the first in Suffolk County to offer balloon sinuplasty. In 2012, we became the first to treat children with it. We proudly continue to use leading-edge technology to lead the way in patient care.

Now, with the latest sinuplasty technology, our physicians can perform the procedure in our ENT office in East Setauket on an outpatient, same-day basis.

How It Works

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Step 1: Sinus guide catheter and a flexible sinus guidewire are placed through nostrils to access target sinus, and sinus balloon catheter is advanced over sinus guidewire.

Step 2: Sinus balloon catheter is positioned across blocked sinus opening and gently inflated.

Step 3: Balloon sinuplasty system is removed, leaving open sinus passageway and restoring normal sinus drainage and function.

Endoscopic sinus surgery with sinuplasty technology involves using a small, flexible balloon catheter that is placed through the nostril into the blocked sinus passageway. When the balloon is inflated, it gently restructures and opens the sinus passageway, restoring normal sinus drainage and function.

Balloon sinuplasty offers benefits to sinusitis patients considering surgery. This minimally invasive approach enables physicians to treat sinusitis entirely through the nostrils, and in many cases without tissue or bone removal. This may result in reduced bleeding and less post-procedure discomfort for patients.

Post-procedure, the size of the dilated opening is approximately that of the nominal diameter of the selected sinus balloon catheter (3-7 mm). While recovery time varies with each patient, many people can return to normal activities within 24 hours.

The international, multi-center study, CLEAR,* published in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, the official publication of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, confirmed at all time points—24 weeks, one year, and two years—earlier clinical validation that the balloon sinuplasty technology is safe and effective for opening blocked sinuses. The CLEAR study found:

  • 91.6% functional patency rate at one year; 70 patients (217 sinuses).
  • No serious adverse events at two years; 65 patients (195 sinuses).
  • Symptom improvement for 85% of patients across the two-year postsurgery period.

* CLinical Evaluation to Confirm SAfety and Efficacy of Sinuplasty in the PaRanasal Sinuses (CLEAR), a non-randomized, prospective evaluation for tracking outcomes following dilation of the sinus ostia with balloon sinuplasty.

For consultations/appointments with our ENT specialists who provide balloon sinuplasty, please call 631-444-4121.