Balloon Sinus Surgery Bellevue

The concept of using balloon inflation in medical procedures is not a new concept. Cardiologists have been using this technique to aid in heart surgeries since the late 1970s. Undergoing sinus surgery to relieve symptoms of sinusitis is more recent, but ENT surgeons perfected the methods during the 1980s. However, it wasn’t until the late 1990s and early 2000s that sinus surgery became a mainstream method to treat chronic sinus symptoms. Today, ENT surgeons continue to create innovative methods to minimize risks and improve the effectiveness of sinus surgery. One of the newest techniques is Balloon Sinuplasty. As one of the top sinus surgeons, Dr. David Santos, at Sinusitits in Seattle, provides the highest quality of balloon sinus surgery in the Bellevue area.  

Overview: Understanding Balloon Sinus Surgery 

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive surgery that uses an endoscopic, inflatable catheter system that widens clogged sinus pathways, and brings normal function back to the sinuses. When the catheter is inflated, or ballooned, it smoothly opens and resets the inflamed passageways, allowing mucus to drain correctly. The restructuring of the sinus walls leaves the passageways in great condition. 

Balloon sinus surgery is a newer procedure when compared to traditional sinus surgery. Approved by the FDA in 2005, otolaryngologists have used this procedure to fix chronic or acute sinusitis and rhinosinusitis. It’s a good solution for patients who have milder sinus issues but struggle in their day-to-day.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Bellevue Balloon Sinuplasty? 

Balloon sinus surgery is used to treat chronic sinus difficulties. It effectively helps treat chronic sinusitis and chronic rhinosinusitis. Since the surgical instruments are minimally invasive and inflatable, they are ineffective in removing sinus polyps. The main goal of the procedure is to restructure the sinus passageways, allowing mucus to drain correctly. 

Even with a minimally invasive procedure, surgery is often the last option when treating chronic sinus inflammation, including surgeries like balloon sinuplasty. Dr. Santos may recommend this procedure if sinus symptoms persist and are not responding to typical sinus treatment. Sinus balloon surgery may also be your best option if a CT scan reveals blockage or structural problems in the nasal cavities. 

Balloon sinuplasty can help with many chronic sinus conditions and residuals such as: 

Safety and Sinus Surgery 

Balloon sinus surgery is a relatively new procedure. It was approved by the FDA in 2005 and has been commonly practiced since. This makes some patients nervous, as newer innovation is typically associated with many risks. However, balloon sinuplasty is considered extremely safe and effective for treating chronic sinus ailments, especially when performed by one of Bellevue’s top surgeons, like Dr. Santos. 

Every procedure has risks, even balloon sinus surgery, although rare, comes with some inherent ones as well. Standard surgical risks include complications from anesthesia, infections, or bleeding. More serious risks are possible, but rare. 

Dr. Santos prioritizes his patient’s safety and takes every precaution to ensure their well-being. He will utilize a thorough screening to ensure his patient is a perfect candidate for the surgery. He will also discuss the best anesthesia option for the patient and prescribe medication to prevent any possible infection after the surgery. 

Balloon Sinuplasty vs. Traditional Sinus Surgery 

While there are similarities between Bellevue balloon sinus surgery and endoscopic sinus surgery, there are also many differences between how they are performed and what they treat. There are benefits to both procedures, but knowing which one is best for you is something Dr. Santos will determine. The largest similarity between the procedures is both do not require an external incision, and the surgery is done entirely through the nasal passageways. They both also treat similar sinus conditions, however, each surgery benefits certain conditions better. 

The table below shows the specific distinctions between both procedures.

Balloon Sinuplasty Endoscopic Sinus Surgery 
  • Uses inflatable catheter to widen/reconstruct the nasal passageways
  • Little or no tissue removed
  • Can not remove nasal polyps 
  • Better for acute or minor sinusitis
  • Better for restructuring the sinus passageways 
  • Typically a shorter surgery 
  • Significantly less recovery time post-operation
  • Safe procedure with effective results
  • Uses a thin scope to locate/remove tissue or bone obstructing the sinuses
  • Sinus tissue removed
  • Removes nasal polyps 
  • Better for chronic or more severe  sinusitis 
  • May provide longer-lasting results for patients
  • More extensive surgery 
  • Longer recovery time post-operation 
  • Trustworthy procedure, highest standard of sinus surgery 

Overall, your best Bellevue sinus surgery will be decided by Dr. Santo during a consultation. The severity of your sinusitis and underlying factors causing blockage will help guide him to which surgery fits your unique needs. Balloon surgery is ultimately best for less severe cases of sinusitis with no polyps blocking the flow of mucus. 

Bellevue Balloon Sinuplasty: The Before and After 


At your consultation, Dr. Santos will need to know your specific sinus issues, past medical treatment for your sinuses, and any other health conditions you may have. He will also perform a physical examination and ask about any previous surgeries you might have had. The last few tests he may need are a CT scan or nasal endoscopy to see the root cause of your sinus blockage. This will ultimately help him determine the best solution for you. 

Once Dr. Santos has performed the tests and acquired your medical history, he can discuss the best treatment options for you. Some of these options may not include surgery, but some of them might be surgical and could include balloon sinus surgery. If he establishes that balloon sinus surgery in Bellevue is the best plan for you, you will then discuss the details of the surgery and the recovery after. 

Balloon Sinus Surgery 

If you and Dr. Santos decide that Bellevue balloon sinuplasty is the best option, you will come into Sinusitits at Seattle’s, high-quality, outpatient center. Typically, the surgery lasts less than an hour and you can go home the same day.

For this procedure, both local anesthesia with IV sedation, and general anesthesia can be used. Dr. Santos will discuss these options at your consultation to determine what is best for you. Once placed under the correct anesthesia, he will begin the procedure. 

Dr. Santos will begin by inserting the balloon catheter into the nostrils. He may also use an endoscope, solely to create visibility into the problem area. Next, he will gently inflate the balloon to widen the sinus passageways, while also reconstructing any problematic bone or tissue. 

Once the sinus cavities are widened, Dr. Santos will spray a saline solution into the inflamed sinus to rinse any infection, allergens, or pus. After all irritants are flushed, he will remove the instruments. The reconstructed opening and cleaned passageways should allow the mucus to begin draining properly and significantly reduce symptoms. 


The recovery process of balloon sinuplasty is typically faster and easier than traditional sinus surgery. Dr. Santos may prescribe a saline rinse one to two days after the procedure. This helps promote healing and keep any bacteria out of the nasal cavity. Physical exercise should be avoided for a week. 

It is common to see bloody discharge when using the saline rinse. This is expected and should only last for about a week. Congestion in the sinuses and nose is common during the healing process. Patients can typically return to daily life a week after balloon sinus surgery. Dr. Santos may clear patients to return to work sooner in specific cases. 

What Type of Anesthesia is Used? 

Both local and general anesthesia can be used for balloon sinus surgery. Local anesthesia typically reduces risk and helps create an easier recovery period. However, certain cases may require general anesthesia, but this can be discussed with Dr. Santos upon your consultation. 

Dr. Santos is one of the leading pioneers in using local anesthesia for facial plastic surgery and sinus surgery. He has years of experience with local anesthesia and can create easier recovery times for all his Bellevue patients. 

Dr. David Santos, Top Sinus Surgeon and Expert in Bellevue Balloon Sinus 

Dr. David Santos is a double board-certified otolaryngologist and facial surgeon. He received his certification from the American Board of Otolaryngology and The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He possesses over thirty years of executing successful sinus surgeries and has received many awards for his accomplishments.

Dr. Santos is one of the best sinus surgeons in Bellevue to perform low-risk surgery and alleviate patients’ symptoms. He offers the most advanced and trustworthy techniques to ensure everything from the anesthesia to the procedure leaves his patient’s in great condition. Sinusitis in Seattle offers the highest quality treatment for any sinus condition in Bellevue. 

To learn more or schedule a consultation, call us at 206-242-3696. You can also reach us online via our contact form.