Pediatric ENT patient being examined as a candidate for balloon sinuplasty

Originally written June 2, 2016

Adults aren't the only ones who deal with the stuffy nose and facial pain that comes from a sinus infection. Children can also be prone to this condition, and they too can receive many of the same treatments you have available. If your child has chronic sinusitis, they may be a candidate for a simple procedure that can change their life in the long-run: balloon sinuplasty.

In This Article...

  1. What are the symptoms of a sinus infection in children?
  2. How prevalent are sinus infections in children?
  3. What are typical treatments for sinusitis in children?
  4. What is balloon sinuplasty for children?
  5. How is balloon sinuplasty for children performed?
  6. What is the recovery process for balloon sinuplasty for children?

What are the symptoms of a sinus infection in children?

Your child may have symptoms that resemble a cold or allergies, but further evaluations from their physician can help determine if it is caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the sinuses (sinusitis). These symptoms include:

  • A fever
  • Nasal congestion
  • Swelling near the eyes
  • Thick nasal drainage
  • Headaches or neck pain

Children who are not verbal may also express some irritability in lieu of describing their symptoms.

How prevalent are sinus infections in children?

CEENTA Otolaryngologist Jonathan Moss, MD discusses balloon sinuplasty for children

Dr. Jonathan Moss, a CEENTA otolaryngologist who practices out of our Matthews office, describes how often children may be diagnosed with recurring sinus infections, also known as chronic sinusitis. "Viral upper respiratory infections are very common in children, with each child having several a year on average. That said, only a small percentage of these will actually lead to sinus infections, which are typically resolved with treatment. This leaves a very small percentage of children who will go on to have chronic sinusitis."

What are typical treatments for sinusitis in children?

Your child's treatment regimen can depend on whether the infection is caused by viruses or bacteria. Antibiotics may be prescribed for the latter, while overall treatments can include decongestants, acetaminophen for swelling and pain management, and humidifiers. In addition, endoscopic surgery can also be considered if the symptoms persist. 

What is balloon sinuplasty for children?

Surgery may not be suitable for every child, which is why a revolutionary method of treating pediatric sinusitis has been created. Balloon sinuplasty is a procedure used to treat long-term sinus infections in a minimally-invasive manner. where a balloon is used to enlarge the sinus openings and allow them to function properly. 

How is balloon sinuplasty for children performed?

With balloon sinuplasty the natural openings are dilated using a balloon, as opposed to standard sinus surgery, where the removal of tissue is required. In children, the procedure is done under general anesthesia, while in older teenagers and adults the procedure can be done in their doctor’s office.

The surgeon will guide a small, flexible balloon through the nose and into the blocked sinus cavity. It is then inflated to open up the passage and allow for normal drainage. The balloon is then deflated and removed.

What is the recovery process for balloon sinuplasty for children?

"The recovery is generally less painful than surgery, and there is less post-op drainage and crusting," Dr. Moss said. Your child may experience some discomfort following the procedure, so allowing them to rest with their head elevated by a pillow can help alleviate their pain. It's also recommended that they do not blow their nose for a minimum of twelve hours. 

"While balloon sinuplasty is a good option for children who need sinus surgery, chronic sinusitis that requires surgery remains uncommon in children," Dr. Moss said. "Surgery versus observation and continued medical treatment is a discussion that will need to take place with your ENT physician."

If your child is dealing with persistent sinus infections, schedule their next ENT appointment with CEENTA. Our ENT physicians can examine your child's symptoms and recommend both surgical and non-surgical treatment methods, including balloon sinuplasty. Schedule their next appointment online, through myCEENTAchart, or by calling 704-295-3000.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. To make an appointment with a CEENTA ENT doctor, you may schedule online, through myCEENTAchart, or by calling 704-295-3000.


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