What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

Balloon Sinuplasty is a safe, effective, and minimally invasive technique used to treat blocked and/or inflamed sinuses. Sinuses can become inflamed from a variety of conditions, such as sinusitis (sinus infection), other chronic infections, and can even result from mold exposure (MARCoNS). This endoscopic, catheter-based technique is an alternative to sinus surgery and can be beneficial for patients who are not responding to medications for relief of their symptoms. Furthermore, balloon sinuplasty does not require incisions, cutting, the removal of any bone tissue, or anesthesia and is therefore less taxing on the patient.

Since the initial introduction of balloon sinuplasty, there has been a significant number of clinical studies that investigated this technique’s effectiveness, safety, and the patient’s benefits. At the bottom of this article is a list of several research studies supporting the efficacy of this technique for treating patients diagnosed with chronic or recurrent sinusitis, patients with frontal, maxillary and sphenoid disease, and patients with allergies, asthma, septal deviations, or a previous functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). Overall, this technique delivers a significantly better patient recovery experience than surgery, including quicker recovery; less bleeding, risk of infection, blood loss, bruising and swelling; and less need for pain medications. Furthermore, patients are able to return to their normal daily activities right away.

During this procedure, a balloon is placed over a pump and is inserted into the nostril near the sinus opening. An instrument is then used to guide the balloon up into the blocked sinus so that when the balloon is inflated, it will dilate the sinus opening without cutting the mucosa or surrounding structures. In turn, the walls of the sinus passageway are widened which restores normal drainage. The procedure takes around 20 minutes and if successful, after the balloon is deflated and removed the sinus will remain open for up to 24 months. This can be especially relieving for patients who suffer from chronic headaches or migraines due to their sinusitis.

Currently we are providing 3-4 recommended treatments to create a more permanent resolution of symptoms.

Is Balloon Sinuplasty right for you? Typically patients with all or some of the following symptoms may benefit from the balloon sinuplasty procedure:

Recurrent sinusitis: sinus infection occurring when the sinuses and nasal passages become inflamed. Sinuses are small air pockets located behind the forehead, nose, cheekbones, and eyes. The sinuses produce mucus, which is a jelly-like liquid that protects the body by trapping germs before entering the bloodstream. Sinusitis occurs when excess mucus formed by bacteria or allergens causes blockages of the sinus openings. This mucus buildup can encourage further bacteria and germs to grow in the sinus cavity, leading to a bacterial or viral infection. This results in minimal to extreme inflammation in the nasal passageways. Balloon sinuplasty opens the nasal passageways inducing proper drainage and clearing of the mucus buildup in the nasal passageway and therefore, a reduction in inflammation that will last long after the procedure,

Headaches, especially around the eyes: Inflammation and mucus buildup in the nasal passageways can cause mild to severe headaches, of which can be relieved from the balloon sinuplasty procedure.

Chronic bad breath and/or foul taste in the mouth: Symptoms such as these can be the result of clogged and inflamed sinuses, of which balloon sinuplasty can relieve.

Difficulty breathing through the nose

Chronic nasal problems

MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci): an antibiotic resistant staph infection that resides deep within the nasal cavity. It typically results when a person has been treated with antibiotics for a month or more and/or from mold exposure. The antibiotic resistant staph bacteria forms a biofilm, which is a layer of mucus, cellular debris, white cells, fungi, and other substances of which creates a habitat that antibiotics can’t readily penetrate. There are several mechanisms by which biofilms can form, but once formed they are very hard to get rid of. MARCoNS ultimately results in a variety of symptoms including hormone imbalances, weakened immune response, chronic fatigue and body aches. Further symptoms include reduced endorphins, mood swings, leaky gut, alternating constipation and diarrhea, and lower melatonin (poor sleep). In turn, cortisol levels first increase due to the body’s stress response, but then drop due to the body’s inability to compensate and ultimately, adrenal symptoms sets in. Balloon sinuplasty with the help of a natural antimicrobial like silver protein can clear out this bacterial infection, combating such symptoms.

Wegener’s Granulomatosis: an uncommon autoimmune disease causing inflammation and injury to blood vessels (vasculitis) that affects several organs, including the lungs, kidneys and upper respiratory tract. Symptoms may include sinus pain, bloody, purulent nasal discharge, saddle-nose deformity, chest discomfort and cough, weakness, anorexia, weight loss, and skin lesions. While balloon sinuplasty is not a cure to this disease, it can cause relief of inflammation, decrease sinus pain, and prevent further infection of the respiratory tract. Many people are aware that this vasculitis is affecting their kidney or cardiac tissue but the most common reason for the development of the autoimmune disease is a upper respiratory tract infection!

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, specifically the synovium (thin membrane that surrounds the joints and produces synovial fluid that lubricates the joints). This results in severe inflammation, which can lead to pain and swelling throughout the body of which balloon sinuplasty can be beneficial to relieve. Again, the sinuplasty is not treating the rheumatoid arthritis but it is targeting an infection that may have started the disease process!

Whether you have one or several of the above symptoms/conditions, you may find extraordinary relief from your sinus pain and inflammation from the balloon sinuplasty procedure. If you have any further questions about the procedure or whether or not it is right for you, please feel free to call us at Red Tail Wellness Center to discuss your options. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you to help treat your sinus issues.

Balloon Sinuplasty Procedure supported Research Articles:

Bikhazi, N. et al; Standalone balloon dilation versus sinus surgery for chronic rhinosinusitis: A prospective, multicenter, randomized, controlled trial with 1-year follow-up, Am J Rhinol Allergy 2014; May 20 [Epub ahead of print]

Cutler, Jeffrey; Bikhazi, Nadim; Light, Joshua; Truitt, Theodore; Schwartz, Michael; Armstrong, Michael; Bikhazi, Nadim; Chandler, Stephen; Cutler, Jeffrey; Ferouz-Colborn, Aliya; Gould, James; Light, Joshua; Marvel, Jeffrey; Schwartz, Michael; Truitt, Theodore (2013). “Standalone Balloon Dilation versus Sinus Surgery for Chronic Rhinosinusitis: A Prospective, Multicenter, Randomized, Controlled Trial”. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy. 27 (5): 416–422. doi:10.2500/ajra.2013.27.3970. PMID 23920419.

Gould, James; Alexander, Ian; Tomkin, Edward; Brodner, David (2014). “In-Office, Multisinus Balloon Dilation: 1-Year Outcomes from a Prospective, Multicenter, Open Label Trial”. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy. 28 (2): 156–163. doi:10.2500/ajra.2014.28.4043. PMID 24598043.

Levine, Steven B.; Truitt, Theodore; Schwartz, Michael; Atkins, James (2013). “In-Office Stand-Alone Balloon Dilation of Maxillary Sinus Ostia and Ethmoid Infundibula in Adults with Chronic or Recurrent Acute Rhinosinusitis: A Prospective, Multi-Institutional Study with 1-Year Follow-up”. Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology. 122 (11): 665–671. doi:10.1177/000348941312201101. PMID 24358625.

Karanfilov, Boris; Silvers, Stacey; Pasha, Raza; Sikand, Ashley; Shikani, Alan; Sillers, Michael; ORIOS2 Study Investigators (2013). “Office-based balloon sinus dilation: A prospective, multicenter study of 203 patients”. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology. 3 (5): 404–411. doi:10.1002/alr.21112. PMID 23136057.

Albritton, Ford D.; Casiano, Roy R.; Sillers, Michael J. (2012). “Feasibility of in-office endoscopic sinus surgery with balloon sinus dilation”. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy. 26 (3): 243–248. doi:10.2500/ajra.2012.26.3763. PMC 3906511. PMID 22449614.

Cutler, Jeffrey; Truitt, Theodore; Atkins, James; Winegar, Bradford; Lanier, Brent; Schaeffer, B. Todd; Raviv, Joseph; Henderson, Diana; Duncavage, James; Stankiewicz, James; Tami, Thomas (2011). “First clinic experience: Patient selection and outcomes for ostial dilation for chronic rhinosinusitis”. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology. 1 (6): 460–465. doi:10.1002/alr.20069. PMID 22144055.

Stankiewicz, James; Truitt, Theodore; Atkins, James; Winegar, Bradford; Cink, Paul; Raviv, Joseph; Henderson, Diana; Tami, Thomas (2012). “Two-year results: Transantral balloon dilation of the ethmoid infundibulum”. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology. 2 (3): 199–206. doi:10.1002/alr.21024. PMID 22337530.

Brodner, David; Nachlas, Nathan; Mock, Presley; Truitt, Theodore; Armstrong, Michael; Pasha, Raza; Jung, Christopher; Atkins, James (2013). “Safety and outcomes following hybrid balloon and balloon-only procedures using a multifunction, multisinus balloon dilation tool”. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology. 3 (8): 652–658. doi:10.1002/alr.21156. PMID 23424023.

Weiss, Raymond L.; Church, Christopher A.; Kuhn, Frederick A.; Levine, Howard L.; Sillers, Michael J.; Vaughan, Winston C. (2008). “Long-term outcome analysis of balloon catheter sinusotomy: Two-year follow-up”. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. 139(3_suppl_1): S38–S46. doi:10.1016/j.otohns.2008.06.008. PMID 18707993.


Gilani, M, et al. “Methicillin Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococcus: From Colonizer to a Pathogen.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27393446.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 8 Aug. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/granulomatosis-with-polyangiitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351088

“Rheumatoid Arthritis: Early diagnosis and treatment outcomes” Caspian journal of internal medicine vol. 2,1 (2011): 161-70.

Shoemaker, Dr. Ritchie. “MARCoNS.” Biotoxin Journey, 10 Oct. 2018, biotoxinjourney.com/marcons/.

The Functional Medicine Approach to Arthritis and Why It Works

Many people just like you are feeling the aches and pains of old age. But are these aches and pains normal? Just because it is common doesn’t mean you have to embrace inflammation and deterioration of your body. Just imagine growing old and still feeling your youthful, agile body move with ease. Doesn’t this sound like a dream? Well, it doesn’t have to be just a dream. You can live a life with less pain and more resilience. With a functional approach to your health your body doesn’t have to be subject to arthritis.

What is arthritis?

There are 2 major categories of arthritis. One category is understood as Osteoarthritis and the other is considered Autoimmune arthritis such as Rheumatoid arthritis. These two different diagnoses are typically thought to be inevitable diseases that develop as we age. This is a huge misconception and often we accept these diagnoses without any thought to fully heal. Research is telling us that these two different types of arthritis are actually being diagnosed in younger and younger individuals, including osteoarthritis. This tells us something about the nature of these diseases, that they might be a result of diet, lifestyle and our environment.


This type of arthritis was previously understood as pain and inflammation in the joints caused by inflammation primarily due to obesity.  The theory was that the meer excess weight contributed to the deterioration of joints and cartilage. Research has revealed that this isn’t the full story. We now know that the pain and deterioration of joints and cartilage are due to inflammation coming from different parts of the body due to visceral fat storage (fat stored around organs,muscles, and inside joints that burden the body).  Osteoarthritis is now considered part of metabolic syndrome in which the hyperinsulinemia (high insulin) contributes to insulin resistance and excess fat which leads to inflammation in the body. This metabolic disorder is a digestive issue and can be reversed with food and lifestyle changes! This process closely mimics osteoporosis which is another manifestation of chronic low grade inflammation. 

Rheumatoid arthritis:

Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA) is an Autoimmune disease that afflicts 1.5 million people in the United States. Many are being diagnosed younger and younger. Autoimmune diseases are all similar in their origin, in that the body’s immune system has run off the railroad tracks due to leaky gut. A leaky gut allows undigested foods and bacteria/yeast/viruses to enter the bloodstream and the immune system goes on alert to create antibodies. If this goes unnoticed, the immune system can become hyperactive and confused. It eventually can no longer differentiate between itself and foreign substances. The immune system, which is normally on alert at all times to protect the body from invaders like bacteria and viruses, turns on overdrive and cannot be shut off. In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis, the body begins to attack tissues, joints and cartilage, which causes inflammation and chronic pain.  Most frequently a doctor will check two markers, Rheumatoid factor and Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (CCP-Ab) antibody to determine this. What is confusing is that you may not have these positive but all the symptoms of osteo or rheumatoid arthritis.  There are other markers like CRP-HS, a combination of inflammatory chemicals made in the liver positive.  If this is significantly elevated you may have something called polymyalgia rheumatica, and it is then treated with the same drugs as rheumatoid arthritis.

When the tissues around the joint are inflamed, either due to metabolic syndrome or autoimmune origin, the synovial fluid inside the joint becomes thick and swells. This is painful because the synovial fluid is what normally provides a slick and smooth movement when you move your joints. After inflammation continues without any resolve, the cartilage begins to deteriorate. Cartilage is the elastic tissue that covers the ends of bones. Overtime, loss of cartilage and the space between joints results in loose, unstable joints, and permanent damage. For this reason, early detection and prevention of arthritis is a high priority in the medical field.  But, the frustrating aspect is most providers are not looking at the infections, foods and environmental factors which are driving the condition!

What is functional medicine?

Functional medicine’s approach is always to get to the root cause of disease in a holistic and systemic approach. By looking at the body’s systems as a whole we can observe indications of illness present before severe imbalances in your blood levels are noticeable. This approach to disease is perfect for chronic diseases such as arthritis in which early detection is paramount to prevention and recovery.

Functional medicine incorporates gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, endocrine, neurological, and  psychological treatments to support the entire body’s healing capacity. The functional medicine approach for arthritis recognizes that our gut comprises 70-80% of our immune system. Correcting leaky gut and improving digestion are high priorities for a functional medicine approach to both types of arthritis. This is because all arthritis is caused by chronic inflammation throughout the body. Though each category is slightly different, they both have the same functional medicine treatments focused on the gut and diet. Increasing antioxidants, gut healing and anti-inflammatory foods are ways to get ahead of the inflammation and balance the immune system.  Most importantly we must ask the question “why”? Why might I have these issues rather than accepting the common assumption “its genetic” and something I have no choice in.

How does arthritis get worse?

There are many barriers for patients using conventional treatments that inhibit a full remission of arthritis. Typically NSAIDS and other anti-inflammatory drugs are used to turn off the body’s immune system. This might temporarily resolve the inflammation and pain symptoms but these drugs contribute to leaky gut and allow for foreign invaders to freely enter the body without any deterrent (for example prednisone over long periods of time increases your susceptibility to chronic infections). There are also many environmental and genetic factors that trigger RA. One study shows that prevalence of RA increased in urban cities opposed to rural cities 1.  These factors must be addressed in the health of an RA patient and taking conventional drugs will not do this.

In osteoarthritis patients the importance of reducing insulin in the body is the key. This is very much a dietary and lifestyle component. Many people continue to eat a diet that is high in processed simple and complex carbohydrates in the forms of grains and packaged foods that contribute to high insulin in the body. Insulin is a fat storing hormone. Its job is to take glucose to the cells or to the liver to be stored as fat. A lifestyle that contributes to storage of fat can perpetuate hyperinsulinemia and inflammation that burdens the joints.

How does functional medicine help arthritis?

“Approximately a year ago I developed joint pain without a known cause. After some research, I visited Dr. Autoimmune. Dr. Hollaman provided me with a foundation on which I could build on to decrease my joint pain and improve my health. He truly has a gift to help people and I’m very thankful I decided to visit Dr. Autoimmune”  -Jan

A functional medicine treatment plan for arthritis will include nutrition therapy, supplementation, functional neurology to improve brain function, and other alternative therapies to improve cell function, especially immune system function. A functional approach recognizes that the immune system is in charge of both inflammation and anti-inflammation. Inflammation is needed in the body to allow the immune system to do its job and clean up the ‘bad guys’. The problem of auto-immunity and metabolic syndrome is not that there is inflammation, it is that there is something confusing the body to attack itself and cause chronic inflammation. Functional medicine exposes the root cause of the confused immune system and when we treat this, the body can realign the natural immune response.

Your body has the ability to heal itself and it all starts with an initial examination.  During this we will cover a comprehensive neurologic and metabolic exam plus a case review.  Then we will want to identify any key areas that need support and give necessary labs to show what needs to be done uniquely for your case.  At the report of findings Dr. Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP will give you his best care recommendations and a treatment plan if he is able to help.  Rest assured no stone will be left unturned as we look for the root cause!

Contact Dr Autoimmune Today. +1 (303) 882-8447
1 Chou CT, Pei L, Chang DM, Lee CF, Schumacher HR, Liang MH. Prevalence of rheumatic diseases in Taiwan: a population study of urban, suburban, rural differences. J Rheumatol. 1994;21(2):302-306.