Answers to Your Sinusitis Questions

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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 last longer than 12 weeks, you should see an ENT doctor for a diagnosis.

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.

What are the common symptoms of sinusitis?

Common symptoms of both acute and chronic sinusitis include cloudy or colored (not clear) drainage from the nose plus one or both of the following:(1)

  • A stuffy, congested, or blocked nose
  • Pain, pressure or fullness in the face, head, or around the eyes

Acute sinusitis is diagnosed when symptoms last up to 4 weeks. It is usually caused by viruses or bacteria. Chronic sinusitis lasts for 12 weeks or longer and is usually caused by prolonged inflammation, rather than a longstanding infection.

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 doctor (ENT doctor), or Otolaryngologist, who can discuss additional options to treat your chronic sinusitis.

How is sinusitis treated?
  • Sinusitis can be treated non-surgically with natural therapy such as inhaling steam or using saline nasal sprays, or ENT doctors can prescribe medications such as antibiotics or nasal steroid sprays. However, clinical studies show at least 20% of chronic sinusitis patients are not successfully treated with medical therapy.(2) For patients who do not respond adequately to medications, an ENT doctor may recommend 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 is often associated with pain and scarring.
  • Balloon Sinuplasty is a breakthrough, minimally invasive procedure that ENT doctors use to treat patients with chronic 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, effective and has a quick recovery.(3,7)

Read more about Balloon Sinuplasty.

Is Balloon Sinuplasty cleared for use by the FDA?

The devices used in the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure were first cleared by FDA in 2005.

Does Balloon Sinuplasty work?

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

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. It is unlikely that you would require repeat procedures, but the procedure may be repeated if your surgeon deems it necessary.

How many people have had the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure?

More than 535,000 people around the world have experienced Balloon Sinuplasty.(8)

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

Balloon Sinuplasty is less invasive than traditional surgery with minimal bleeding and low post-op pain.(4,6) Most people can get back to normal activities and work quickly.

How long does symptom relief last after Balloon Sinuplasty?

Results vary by individual. A clinical study of 1,036 patients at multiple institutions reported that sinus symptoms improved in 95% of patients at an average follow-up period of 9 months.(4) In another study, patients reported symptom improvement up to two years after having the procedure.(3)

Is Balloon Sinuplasty safe?

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

What material is the balloon made from?

The balloon is made from a type of plastic that does not contain latex.

What are the risks associated with Balloon Sinuplasty?

Because Balloon Sinuplasty is less invasive than traditional sinus surgery there is a 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.

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.

Will I require general anesthesia during Balloon Sinuplasty?

Most patients undergo general anesthesia, but 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.

How long does it take to recover after Balloon Sinuplasty?

While recovery time varies with each patient, most patients who undergo the in-office procedure can return to normal activities and work within 2 days.(7)

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.

Is Balloon Sinuplasty right for me?

It is important to talk to your ENT doctor about all of your sinus treatment options and ask what type of sinus therapy is best for you. If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, and sinus medications have not been effective in relieving your symptoms, you may be a candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty.

Take the Balloon Sinuplasty Quiz.

Can Balloon Sinuplasty be used in children?

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

How much does Balloon Sinuplasty cost?

Your cost will vary depending on your insurance coverage. Speak with your insurance company about the cost.

Is Balloon Sinuplasty covered by Medicare?

Yes. Medicare’s sinus surgery insurance coverage includes Balloon Sinuplasty.

Is Balloon Sinuplasty covered by my insurance carrier?

To be certain of your sinus surgery insurance coverage, contact your insurance provider to find out your specific policy.

What are patients saying about Balloon Sinuplasty?

See Patient Testimonials about Balloon Sinuplasty.

What are physicians saying about Balloon Sinuplasty?

See Physician Testimonials about Balloon Sinuplasty.


  1. Sinusitis - Patient Health Information. American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. 2016.
  2. Lal, Devyani, et al. “Efficacy of Targeted Medical Therapy in Chronic Rhinosinusitis, and Predictors of Failure.” American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, vol. 23, no. 4, Jan. 2009, pp. 396–400.
  3. Weiss, Raymond L., et al. “Long-Term Outcome Analysis of Balloon Catheter Sinusotomy: Two-Year Follow-Up.” Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, vol. 139, no. 3_suppl_1, 2008.
  4. Levine, Howard L., et al. “Multicenter Registry of Balloon Catheter Sinusotomy Outcomes for 1,036 Patients.” Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, vol. 117, no. 4, 2008, pp. 263–270.
  5. Wynn, Rhoda, and Winston C. Vaughan. “R133: Postoperative Recovery: FESS with Balloon Sinuplasty Device.” Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, vol. 135, no. 2_suppl, 2006.
  6. Friedman, Michael, et al. “Functional Endoscopic Dilatation of the Sinuses: Patient Satisfaction, Postoperative Pain, and Cost.” American Journal of Rhinology, vol. 22, no. 2, Jan. 2008, pp. 204–209.
  7. Karanfilov, Boris, et al. “Office-Based Balloon Sinus Dilation: a Prospective, Multicenter Study of 203 Patients.” International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology, vol. 3, no. 5, July 2012, pp. 404–411.
  8. Acclarent Procedural Data Collected on March 7, 2017


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