Balloon Sinus Dilation Questions & Answers

Balloon Sinus Dilation (BSD) uses a small balloon to dilate and reshape the sinus opening, allowing effective sinus drainage and ventilation.
Balloon Sinus Dilation (BSD) was introduced in 2005 as a convenient, less invasive alternative to sinus surgery and was most commonly performed in the operating room. In 2011, Medicare and many private insurers approved BSD as an in-office procedure, greatly reducing the expense involved with in-hospital sinus surgery.
Balloon Sinus Dilation (BSD) can be performed in the comfort of The Sinus Center of South Carolina. The patient is given the option of taking a mild sedative before the procedure, but for many patients this is not necessary. The nasal passages are sprayed with decongestants, and the lining of nose is carefully numbed/anesthetized. When we are certain the patient is comfortable, a small catheter is advanced into the natural openings of the sinuses. A balloon on the end of the catheter is then dilated using saline (salt water), allowing the opening to reshape and possibly increase up to six times the original size. The balloon is then deflated and removed.
A 2013 national multi-center study, REMODEL, concluded that BSD is as effective as conventional sinus surgery in providing long-term symptom improvement while providing much faster recovery time.
Most insurance carriers, including Medicare, cover in-office Balloon Sinus Dilation. See our insurance page for more information.
Care is taken to ensure that the linings of the nose and sinuses are fully numb. Patients may experience sensations associated with dilating the balloon and on occasion may have some mild discomfort that resolves quickly.
There is usually no bleeding, bruising, or swelling, although there may be some bloody nasal discharge for a day or two. Patients are allowed to resume normal activities the following day.
The nose is not packed, and nasal breathing is comfortable after the procedure.
The balloon is simply used to dilate and reshape the natural opening of the sinus. It is then deflated and removed.
Most patients return to normal activities the next day and only miss work on the day of the procedure.
We recommend that BSD patients refrain from flying for two weeks after the procedure, although most patients would be safe to travel sooner. This can be discussed with your physician, and recommendations for particular situations can be made.
Patients with recurring acute and chronic sinusitis who have not achieved relief through medical management are potential candidates for in-office BSD. A full nasal examination is required, and a CT scan of the sinuses will be reviewed to determine if someone is a candidate for BSD.
Yes. Many patients who have had prior sinus surgery may still have narrow or obstructed passages that can be enlarged and reshaped through BSD, allowing for the improved drainage and ventilation of those sinuses.
If the septum is mildly deviated and not causing any problems, in-office BSD can clear blocked sinuses and provide relief. Some patients, however, have a septum that is so deviated that it impedes access to the sinuses and requires surgical correction before BSD may be performed.