Frequently Asked Questions

About Sinusitis

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis occurs when the sinus linings become inflamed due to a severe cold, allergies, or other sinus problems. Sinusitis can block the sinus openings and prevent the drainage of mucus. If untreated, this can lead to acute, recurring sinus infections. You should see Dr. Cohen if you experience sinusitis symptoms lasting longer than 12 weeks.

Do I have chronic sinusitis or is it just allergies or a cold?

Sinusitis can be caused by a cold or an allergy attack, which can inflame the sinuses. However, if you find that you can get relief from your cold or allergy symptoms with over-the-counter medication or other therapies, you probably do not have sinusitis.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

Symptoms may include the following:

  • Difficulty Breathing Through the Nose
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Sinus Pain and Pressure
  • Loss of Taste or Smell
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Pain in the Face or Teeth
  • Bad Breath
  • Headaches
  • Swelling Around the Nose, Cheeks, Temples and Eyes
Which kinds of doctors treat sinusitis?

You may be able to relieve your sinusitis by seeing your general practitioner or allergist, who can prescribe medication or other non-surgical treatments. However, if your sinusitis persists, your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist, such as Dr. Cohen, who will be better able to determine what other treatments you may require.

What are the treatment options for sinusitis?

Mild to moderate cases of sinusitis can be treated with non-surgical methods, such as over-the-counter medication or through home remedies like inhaling steam. However, if you do not respond to any of these treatment options, Dr. Cohen may recommend further treatment. Depending on which areas of your sinuses are infected, you may be a candidate for traditional sinus surgery, which removes bone and tissue from around your sinus openings, or for balloon sinuplasty, which uses an inflatable catheter to reshape and widen infected sinus openings.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Is balloon sinuplasty effective?

Yes. Clinical research has demonstrated that balloon sinuplasty can provide long lasting relief for most patients who receive the treatment under the care of an experienced otolaryngologist, such as Dr. Cohen.

Is the balloon sinuplasty procedure approved by the FDA?

Yes. Balloon catheters used in the procedure have been cleared by the FDA since 2005.

How many patients have been treated with balloon sinuplasty?

Balloon sinuplasty has been used to successfully treat over 380,000 patients around the world.

Is balloon sinuplasty a better option than traditional sinus surgery?

Yes. Balloon sinuplasty is less invasive than traditional surgery and does not involve the removal of any bone or tissue. This minimizes the postoperative pain and risk of complications compared with traditional surgery.

For how long will relief of my symptoms last after balloon sinuplasty?

While the results vary from patient to patient, the majority report improved symptoms that last for anywhere from 9 months to 3 years.

What material is the balloon catheter device made from?

The balloon catheter is made from a hypoallergenic, surgical grade plastic.

Are there any risks associated with balloon sinuplasty?

While the risks associated with balloon sinuplasty are significantly less than those associated with traditional surgery, it does involve risks common to all types of endoscopic sinus treatments, including damage to tissue and mucus around the infected area, and possible optic damage. It’s important that you consult with Dr. Cohen in order to minimize these risks.

How long does the balloon sinuplasty procedure last?

Balloon sinuplasty can be performed in under an hour.

How long is the recovery period following balloon sinuplasty?

Recovery time following balloon sinuplasty varies from patient to patient, but most who receive in-office treatment with local anesthesia fully recover in 2 days, but are able to return to work or school in 1 or 2 days.

How will balloon sinuplasty limit my future sinus treatment options?

Because it is minimally invasive, balloon sinuplasty has not been shown to limit future treatment options, and can even be used by your surgeon in conjunction with other treatments.

Is balloon sinuplasty the right treatment option for me?

Nobody other than a highly experienced otolaryngologist can answer this question for certain. If you have been suffering from sinusitis and have not been able to get relief through medication or therapies, you may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty.

What will balloon sinuplasty cost me?

Balloon sinuplasty comes at a low out-of-pocket cost compared to traditional sinus treatments. However, it’s important that you consult with your health insurance provider to find out exactly what it will cost you.

Does Medicare cover the balloon sinuplasty procedure?

Yes. Medicare includes the balloon sinuplasty technique in their sinus surgery insurance coverage.

Will balloon sinuplasty be covered by my health insurance?

Balloon sinuplasty is covered by most health insurance providers, but it’s important to reach out to your provider to learn about their coverage for sinus treatments.