Unsuccessful frontal balloon sinuplasty for recurrent sinus barotrauma

Jamie N. Andrews, Erik K. Weitzel, Robert Eller, Christopher K. McMains

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The standard of care treatment for diffuse recurrent sinus barotrauma (RSB) is an endoscopic sphenoethmoidectomy with a complete frontal dissection. Successful healing leaves the RSB patient with no ethmoid sinuses and endoscopically patent frontal, sphenoid, and maxillary Ostia. In persistent cases, patients with small frontal ostia will go on to require a frontal drillout. Patients presenting for surgical management of RSB generally have minimal sinus disease despite significant symptoms during flight and the prospect of extensive surgical management can be unappealing. With the advent of balloon sinuplasty, military otolaryngologists anticipated this technology would permit therapeutic dilation of sinus ostia without the extensive surgical dissection and prolonged recovery typical for standard of care management. This case report is a cautionary note to the wider flight community to recognize a mechanism for recurrence of the underlying pathology when balloon sinuplasty is used that is not possible after properly performed standard of care sinus surgery for RSB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-516
Number of pages3
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2010


  • Balloon sinuplasty
  • Endoscopic frontal sinus surgery
  • Recurrent sinus barotrauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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