Because balloon sinuplasty requires disposable equipment, its cost is typically higher than that of FESS. That additional cost is causing some physicians and hospitals to rethink their use of the procedure.
Explore This IssueNovember 2011
“The cost of the disposables for doing balloon dilatation is often over $1,000 per case,” Dr. Metson said. “Let’s say you have a hospital whose profit margin might be $1,000 or less per case. That can take a profitable procedure and make it a nonprofitable one for a hospital. Because of that, I know many of my fellow physicians are getting heavy pressure from their hospitals to reduce the number of balloon sinuplasty cases.”
Dr. Metson believes that the procedure’s high costs, coupled with potentially higher reimbursement rates for out-of-hospital procedures, is at least partly behind the drive toward in-office balloon sinuplasty.
One thing seems clear: Balloon technology will continue to be part of sinus surgery in the foreseeable future. Patient demand, coupled with clinical investigations into additional uses of the technology, will make balloon dilatation a must-have skill for most sinus surgeons.
“This is a very significant new technology that’s being used in the management of sinus disease,” Dr. Setzen said. “I would say that anybody doing endoscopic sinus surgery today needs to be at least trained and aware and knowledgeable about the use of the balloon.”