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Balloon sinuplasty for chronic sinusitis

Treatment to unblock sinuses using tiny, inflated balloon.

Typical Hospital Stay

Day case

Type of anaesthetic

Local and general anaesthetic

Covered by health insurance?


Procedure duration

30-45 minutes

Available to self-pay?


What is Balloon sinuplasty for chronic sinusitis?

Suffering from chronically blocked sinuses and the pain they bring – pressure headaches, severe face pain, lethargy and even losing the sense of smell and taste – can have a big impact on your enjoyment of everyday life.

Balloon sinuplasty is an innovative, minimally invasive procedure that involves unblocking the sinus with a tiny balloon on the end of a thin flexible wire, allowing the sinus to drain and relieving the sinus pressure without damaging delicate membranes.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time, you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests such as scans or blood tests are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

The procedure

We understand that having surgery can cause anxiety, even though balloon sinuplasty is a relatively straightforward procedure. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way. You may either have a general anaesthetic which means you’ll be asleep during the procedure or a local one, which means you’ll remain awake but won’t feel any pain.

Following your anaesthetic, a thin wire is guided up the nose into the sinuses and a tiny balloon is then fed along the wire to the blockage. Once safely anchored in place, the balloon is gently inflated to open the passageways without damaging the delicate membrane lining it. By widening the drainage channels from the sinus’s fluid should drain better. This reduces the pressure within the sinus. The balloon is then deflated and removed.

The surgery usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes, and you should normally be able to go home the same day.


You’ll usually be able to go home the same day but make sure you have someone to pick you up, as you won’t be able to drive. You shouldn’t drive for 24 to 48 hours depending on whether you’ve had a local or general anaesthetic. You might want to see if your friend or relative can help if you need to travel somewhere.

Your anaesthetist may prescribe painkillers for the first few days. Suffering from pain could slow down your recovery so please discuss any discomfort you have with your nurse, anaesthetist or surgeon.

Most patients can get back to normal activities including work or school, within two days.

Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way and you may be given a date for a follow up appointment with your consultant. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure. It’s unlikely but your sinuses might become infected. Redness or swelling in the eye can be a symptom of sinus infection so contact us if you experience this.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, we’re ready to help.

We understand that you might feel your life is dominated by the pressure headaches, face pain and exhaustion that chronically blocked sinuses (sinusitis) can cause. If medication and other treatments have failed, then balloon sinuplasty can offer an opportunity to relieve the pressure. Unlike endoscopic sinus surgery which has been the traditional surgical treatment for chronic sinusitis this option does not involve cutting delicate bone or tissue in your face.

It is much less invasive and uses the same technology used by cardiologists to widen clogged arteries. Sinus surgery is currently being restricted by the NHS in some areas of the UK and waiting lists are becoming significantly longer. If you can’t tolerate the pain anymore you might opt for private sinus surgery. We pride ourselves on our clinical excellence you’ll be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.

Our patients are at the heart of what we do, and we want you to be in control of your care. To us that means you can choose the consultant you want to see and when you want. They’ll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern well-equipped hospitals. Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries.

Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

We’ve tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible. For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you’re staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

Interested in finding out more?

Speak to a member of our team

Phone01424 757400

Enquiry form

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