03 Sep 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Acclarent, a US-based medical device company, launched balloon sinuplasty, a minimally-invasive technology for sinus surgery in Singapore. The innovative technology, based on the same principles as a balloon angioplasty used to treat cardiac patients, has been shown to improve chronic sinusitis symptoms in 95 per cent of patients.
Balloon sinuplasty technology works by widening constricted sinus passages. Small, soft, flexible devices enter entirely through the nostrils to gently open blocked sinus openings. In many cases, this is done without tissue or bone removal. Sinus surgery with balloon sinuplasty technology can reduce pain and bleeding and allow faster recovery compared to conventional sinus surgery.
Chronic sinusitis can also impose a substantial burden on work productivity and physical / mental activities, due to the long-term effects of the condition, such as constant fatigue, sleep loss and poor concentration ability.
Medications for chronic sinusitis include antibiotics, nasal steroids, and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. These help to reduce inflammation of the sinus and minimize infections. Research shows that medications fail to relieve symptoms in approximately 60 percent of patients, in which case, surgery is recommended. A survey conducted among ear, nose and throat specialists in Singapore showed that sinus surgery was eventually recommended to 45 percent of patients who used medication as the first-line treatment.
Conventional sinus surgery aims to clear blocked sinuses and restore normal sinus drainage. The procedure removes bone and tissue to enlarge the sinus opening, which may lead to pain, scarring, bleeding and an extended recovery period.
Dr A B John, consultant and ear, nose and throat surgeon, Mount Elizabeth Medical Center, said that, "Many of my patients did not see conventional sinus surgery as an option, fearing the pain and trauma that they might have to endure, as well as the extended recovery time. However, balloon sinuplasty technology is a minimally-invasive way of performing sinus surgery, so there is far less pain and a much faster recovery time."
"From a physician's perspective, balloon sinuplasty technology provides me with another tool to manage chronic sinusitis, with the benefit of being able to preserve as much bone, structure and the natural function of the sinuses. Balloon angioplasty has been used in cardiology procedures for nearly four decades and it is logical to translate the concept to the sinuses, given that we are also looking at very intricate areas of the body," said Dr Adrian Siew Ming Saurajen, consultant and ear, nose and throat surgeon, Mount Elizabeth Medical Center.