What is Sinusitis and How Do You Treat it?

Sinusitis Specialists in Palm Harbor, FL

Below you will find answers to the most common questions regarding chronic sinusitis and Balloon Sinuplasty treatment. If you don't see your question on this list, please feel free to call Gulfcoast Ear, Nose & Throat at (727) 942-4005.

Answers to Your Sinusitis Questions


What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus lining. If the sinus opening becomes blocked due to this swelling, normal mucus drainage may not occur, and this may lead to recurrent sinus infections and painful symptoms. Sinusitis can be acute, lasting for less than four weeks, or chronic, lasting longer than 12 weeks. When sinus symptoms either last longer than 12 weeks, or if you experience more than 4 sinus infections each year, you should see an ENT doctor to discuss treatment options.

Back to Top

What is the difference between chronic sinusitis and allergies or colds?

Sinusitis is often preceded by a cold or allergy attack. Colds and allergies can lead to inflamed sinuses, causing the sinus openings to become blocked. This prevents normal mucus drainage and can result in sinusitis.

Back to Top

What are the common symptoms of sinusitis?

Common symptoms of both acute and chronic sinusitis include: (1)

  • Facial pain
  • Tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead
  • Sinus pressure or congestion
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Loss of the sense of smell or taste
  • Sinus Headache
  • Yellow or green mucus from the nose
  • Teeth pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat from nasal discharge
  • Bad breath

Back to Top

What types of doctors treat chronic sinusitis?

Many types of physicians including general and family practice physicians, pediatricians, and allergists may prescribe medication for sinusitis. However, if you have chronic sinusitis or if your symptoms do not improve with medication, you may be referred to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor, or Otolaryngologist, who can discuss additional options to treat your chronic sinusitis.

Back to Top

How is sinusitis treated?

  • Sinusitis may be treated with natural therapy such as inhaling steam or using saline nasal sprays, or ENT doctors can prescribe medications such as antibiotics and nasal steroid sprays. However, clinical studies show up to 60% of sinusitis sufferers do not get relief with medication. (2) For patients who do not respond adequately to medications, an ENT doctor may recommend either a Balloon Sinuplasty procedure or traditional sinus surgery.
  • Traditional sinus surgery removes bone and tissue to enlarge the sinus opening with the aim of clearing blocked sinuses and restoring normal sinus drainage. With this procedure, sinus surgery recovery may be associated with pain and scarring.
  • Balloon Sinuplasty is an innovative, minimally invasive procedure that ENT doctors use to treat patients with sinusitis. A tiny balloon is placed into the nose to reach the blocked sinuses and then inflated to restructure the sinus opening. The procedure is safe and effective.

Back to Top

Is Balloon Sinuplasty cleared for use by the FDA?

Balloon Sinuplasty received FDA clearance in 2005. Over 375,000 patients have been treated by ENT surgeons using this technology.

Back to Top

Does Balloon Sinuplasty work?

Clinical research confirms that Balloon Sinuplasty provides long-term relief from sinus symptoms by effectively opening blocked sinus passageways.(3)

Back to Top

Is the effect of this procedure permanent or might I have to undergo repeated procedures?

How long your sinuses stay open depends on the extent of your sinus disease or other factors. Balloon Sinuplasty restructures the sinus opening, restoring normal sinus drainage. It is unlikely that you would require repeat procedures, but the procedure may be repeated if your ENT deems it necessary.

Back to Top

How many people have had the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure?

More than 375,000 people around the world have experienced Balloon Sinuplasty, including over 35,000 people in the office setting.

Back to Top

What are the advantages of the Balloon Sinuplasty over traditional sinus surgery?

Balloon Sinuplasty is less invasive than traditional sinus surgery with minimal bleeding. (4) While recovery time varies with each patient, recovery is typically fast. In a study of in-office balloon dilation, most patients returned to work and normal activity within 2 days.(5)

Back to Top

Is Balloon Sinuplasty safe?

Yes. Clinical studies have shown that Balloon Sinuplasty is safe, minimally invasive, and significantly improves quality of life. (3)

Back to Top

What material is the balloon made from?

The balloon is made from a high strength plastic that does not contain latex.

Back to Top

What are the risks associated with Balloon Sinuplasty?

Because Balloon Sinuplasty is minimally invasive, there is a very low complication rate. But there are some associated risks, including tissue and mucosal trauma, infection, or possible optic injury. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits and to determine whether Balloon Sinuplasty is right for you.

Back to Top

How long does the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure take?

Since the duration of the procedure varies, ask your healthcare provider for the most accurate answer. However, in a study of more than 1,000 patients, the average procedure time in the operating room was 73 minutes. (4) None of the patients required an overnight stay at the hospital.

Back to Top

Will I require general anesthesia during Balloon Sinuplasty?

An increasing number of ENT doctors perform the procedure in the office, under local anesthesia. Your healthcare provider can best advise you on your anesthesia options.

Back to Top

How long does it take to recover after Balloon Sinuplasty?

Patients go home the same day that they have the procedure. While recovery time will vary from patient to patient, many people can quickly return to normal activities.(5

Back to Top

Does Balloon Sinuplasty limit my future sinusitis treatment options?

No. Surgeons may use Balloon Sinuplasty with other medical therapies, and it does not limit future treatment options for patients.

Back to Top

Can Balloon Sinuplasty be used in children?

Yes, Balloon Sinuplasty is a safe and effective option to relieve chronic sinusitis symptoms in children’s maxillary sinuses.

Back to Top

How much does Balloon Sinuplasty cost?

Your cost will vary depending on your insurance coverage and if you have the procedure performed in the office or hospital. Speak with your insurance company about the cost.

Back to Top

Is Balloon Sinuplasty covered by Medicare?

Yes. Medicare covers Balloon Sinuplasty both in the office and hospital settings.

Back to Top

Is Balloon Sinuplasty covered by my insurance carrier?

Although the majority of insurance carriers cover Balloon Sinuplasty, contact your insurance provider to determine your specific policy.

Back to Top



  1. http://www.entnet.org/healthinformation/sinusitis.cfm   Accessed July 19, 2011
  2. Hamilos, D. Chronic sinusitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2000; 106: 213-227; Stankiewicz, J., et al,. Cost Analysis in the Diagnosis of Chronic Rhinosinusitis. Am J Rhinol 2003;17(3): 139-142; Subramanian, H., et al. A Retrospective Analysis of Treatment Outcomes and Time to Relapse after Intensive Medical Treatment for Chronic Sinusitis. Am J Rhinol 2002; 16(6): 303-312; Hessler, J., et al. Clinical outcomes of chronic rhinosinusitis in response to medical therapy: Results of a prospective study. Am J Rhinol 2007; 21(1): 10-18; Lal, D., et al. Efficacy of targeted medical therapy in chronic rhinosinusitis, and predictors of failure. Am J Rhinol Allergy 23, 396-400, 2009.
  3. Weiss, et al. “Long-term outcome analysis of balloon catheter sinusotomy: Two-year follow-up.” Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2008, Vol. 139, pp. S38-S46.
  4. Levine et al. Multicenter Registry of Balloon Catheter Sinusotomy Outcomes for 1,036 Patients, Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology, 2008, Vol. 117, pp. 263-270.
  5. Karanfilov B, Silvers S, Pasha R, Sikand A, Shikani A, Sillers M; for the ORIOS2 study investigators. Office-based balloon sinus dilation: a prospective, multicenter study of 203 patients. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2013;3(5):404-411.

For more information about Balloon Sinuplasty visit balloonsinuplasty.com.

Powered by Encounter CSS ™ | Terms of Use

Schedule an Appointment in Palm Harbor, FL

If you're seeking sinus surgery in the Palm Harbor area, contact the specialists at Gulfcoast ENT today by calling (727) 942-4005.