Otolaryngologist Characteristics and Outlier Use of Balloon Sinuplasty in the Medicare Population

Smirnov D. Exilus, Elliot R. Haut, Joe Canner, Emily F. Boss, Nicholas R. Rowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Balloon sinuplasty (BSP) is associated with varied practice patterns. This study sought to identify otolaryngologist characteristics associated with BSP utilization. Study Design: Retrospective analysis of Medicare claims data and the National Physician Compare database. Methods: Outlier otolaryngologists were compared to non-outliers. Otolaryngologist characteristics included sex, practice size, geographic setting, years of experience, procedure setting, 10 or fewer endoscopic sinus surgeries per year for 3 or more years, and high number of services per unique Medicare beneficiary. Outlier status was defined as performing an annual total of balloon procedures of 2 standard deviations (SDs) above the mean for all otolaryngologists in the same year. Results: Between January 2012 and December 2017, 1,408 otolaryngologists performed 101,662 endoscopic sinus surgeries and 97,680 BSP procedures. Sixty-six outlier otolaryngologists (4.7%) accounted for 44.3% of all BSP procedures. Outlier status was associated with practice size of 10 or fewer individual providers (OR, 5.15; 95% CI, 2.73–9.74; P <.001), performance of 10 or fewer total endoscopic sinus surgeries per year for 3 or more years (OR, 3.90; 95% CI, 1.59–9.57; P =.003), and high number of overall services per beneficiary (OR 6.70; 95% CI, 1.19–37.84; P =.031). Provider sex, years of experience, and geographic setting were not associated with outlier status. Conclusion: Outlier BSP patterns are associated with a few otolaryngologists who are more likely to be identified in small practices and record low numbers of endoscopic surgeries. Although BSP is an appropriate and effective tool, identification of outlier patterns may help to facilitate peer-to-peer counsel. Level of Evidence: 3 Laryngoscope, 132:1340–1345, 2022.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1340-1345
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Balloon sinuplasty
  • medicare
  • sinus surgery
  • utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'Otolaryngologist Characteristics and Outlier Use of Balloon Sinuplasty in the Medicare Population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this