BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual

Balloon and Self-Expanding Absorptive Ostial Dilation for Treatment of Chronic Sinusitis


Balloon ostial dilation, also known as balloon sinuplasty, (e.g. Relieva™, Relieva Spin Sinus Dilation System®, Relieva Seeker Balloon Sinuplasty System®, NuVent™ EM Balloon Sinus Dilation System, NuVent™, Ventera™ Sinus Dilation System EM) can be an alternative to traditional endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) for selected individuals with chronic rhinosinusitis who have failed medical management.  The procedure involves inflating a balloon delivered via a disposable catheter in the sinus ostium to stretch the opening, thereby allowing drainage of the treated sinus and a resolution or reduction of symptoms.

Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is characterized by purulent nasal discharge, usually without fever, that persists for weeks to months. Symptoms of congestion often accompany the nasal discharge. There also may be mild pain and/or headache. Thickening of mucosa may restrict or close natural openings between sinus cavities and the nasal fossae, although symptoms vary considerably because of the location and shape of these sinus ostia.

Self-expanding absorptive ostial dilation devices (e.g., SinuSys Vent-OS™) have been proposed as an additional treatment for maxillary sinus ostia. However, the safety and effectiveness of these devices is uncertain and has not been established in clinical studies.

Note: This policy does not address functional endoscopic sinus surgery; for that criteria refer to Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) Ambulatory Care Guideline (ACG).





Based on a large number of low-quality but consistent studies balloon sinuplasty appears to be a safe and effective treatment for chronic sinusitis in adults with the effects durable for up to two years. Self-expanding absorptive devices for ostial dilation have no clinical studies to support their use.


Abreua, C., Balsalobrec, L., Pascotoc, G., Pozzobonc, M., Fuchsb, S., and Stamm, A. (2014) Effectiveness of balloon sinuplasty in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis without polyposis. Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology, 86(6), 470-75. (Level 4 evidence)

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. (2014). Clinical consensus statement: pediatric chronic rhinosinusitis. Retrieved August 4, 2016 from .

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. (2015). Clinical practice guideline (update): adult sinusitis executive summary. Retrieved September 14, 2015 from

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. (2017, March). Position statement: dilation of sinuses, any method (e.g., balloon, etc.). Retrieved February 20, 2018 from 

Bikahzi, N., Light, J., Truitt, T., Schwartz, M., & Cuter, J. (2014) Standalone balloon dilation versus sinus surgery for chronic rhinosinusitis: A prospective, multicenter, randomized, controlled trial with 1-year follow-up. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, 28 (4), 323-329. (Level 3 evidence - Industry sponsored)

BlueCross BlueShield Association. Evidence Positioning System. (2:2018). Balloon ostial dilation for treatment of chronic sinusitis (7.01.105). Retrieved December 10, 2018 from . (37 articles and/or guidelines reviewed)

Chandra, R. K., Kern, R. C., Cutler, J. L., Welch, K. C., & Russell, P. T. (2015). REMODEL larger cohort with long-term outcomes and meta-analysis of standalone balloon dilation studies. The Laryngoscope, 126, 44-50. (Level 1 evidence - Industry sponsored)

ECRI Institute. Emerging Technology Evidence Report. (2016, July). Standalone balloon sinus dilation for treating chronic rhinosinusitis in adults. Retrieved August 4, 2016 from ECRI Institute. (139 articles and/or guidelines reviewed)

Gould, J., Alexander, I., Tomkin, E. & Brodner, D. (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. (Level 3 evidence)

Koskinen, A., Myller, J., Mattila, P., Penttilӓ, M., Silvola, J., Alastalo, I., et al. (2016). Long-term follow-up after ESS and balloon sinuplasty: Comparison of symptom reduction and patient satisfaction. Acta Otolaryngolica, 136 (5), 532-536. Abstract retrieved August 5, 2016 from PubMed database.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). (2016, December). Medical technologies guidance XprESS multi sinus dilation system for treating chronic sinusitis. Retrieved August 16, 2017 from

Payne, S. C., Stolovitzky, P., Mehendale, N., Matheny, K., Brown, W., Rieder, A., et al. (2016). Medical therapy versus sinus surgery by using balloon sinus dilation technology: A prospective multicenter study. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, 30, 279-286. (Level 1 evidence - Industry sponsored)

Sikand, A., Silvers, S., Pasha, R., Shikani, A., Karanfilov, B., Harfe, D., et al. (2015). Office-based balloon sinus dilation. 1-year follow-up of a prospective, multicenter study. Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, 124 (8), 630-637. Abstract retrieved August 5, 2016 from PubMed database.

Technology Evaluation Center. (2013, April). Balloon sinus ostial dilation for the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis. (Vol. 27, No. 9). Retrieved February 18, 2014 from  (27 articles and/or guidelines reviewed)

Thottam, P. J., Kieu, M. C., Barazi, R. A., Saraiya, S., Dworkin, J. P., & Belenky, W. M. (2013). FESS versus balloon sinuplasty as long-term treatment for pediatric chronic rhinosinusitis: A 2-year postoperative analysis. Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 149 (2), suppl P130. Abstract retrieved August 4, 2016 from PubMed database.

U. S. Food and Drug Administration. (2008, March). Center for Devices and Radiological Health. 510(k) Premarket Notification Database. K073041(Relieva™). Retrieved January 20, 2010 from

U. S. Food and Drug Administration. (2010, October). Center for Devices and Radiological Health. 510(k) Premarket Notification Database. K102003. Retrieved August 6, 2012 from

Winifred S. Hayes, Inc. Medical Technology Directory. (2016, September, last update search October 2018) Balloon sinuplasty for treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis. Retrieved December 10, 2018 from (68 articles and/or guidelines reviewed)




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