Post-operative Instructions For Nasal Surgery
(Sinus Surgery / Septoplasty / Turbinate Reduction)
Please review the general preoperative instructions. For the first few days after surgery, you are encouraged to rest. Do not participate in any strenuous activity which may raise your blood pressure or heart rate until your doctor believes you are adequately healed. This includes going to work if your job requires physical exertion. Expect to miss a few days of work after your surgery. Do not sit on the couch or in bed all day, get up and walk around as this will help prevent complications. When to resume normal activities can be discussed during your post-operative visits. In the meantime, resume all of your routine medications prescribed by your physicians with the exception of aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve or any other blood thinning medications such as plavix and/or coumadin (warfarin).
After nasal surgery, you will have a small gauze dressing underneath your nostrils. Prior to your discharge, the nurses may give you some extra supplies to take home. Change the dressing underneath your nose if it becomes saturated with drainage. It is normal to have some bloody drainage onto the dressing that requires you to change the gauze every few hours. A brisk bleed or a steady stream of bloody drainage, however, should be reported to your doctor.
Do not blow your nose for a few days after surgery. This may cause bleeding and/or disrupt healing. If you have had sinus surgery, blowing your nose may cause air to puff out the skin around your eye and be extremely uncomfortable. If you have the urge to sneeze, do not hold it in as this can cause the same results.
You may experience some nausea for the first day after the surgery. Time and fluids help to alleviate the side effects of anesthesia. The nurses will help you to determine when and what you should first eat. You will usually begin with clear fluids and advance to solids as tolerated.
Some moderate pain is to be expected. The nurse may give you pain medication prior to your discharge from the recovery room. The doctor has also given you a prescription for pain medication. Always take pain medication with or after food. Do not take any pain medications except for the prescription you were given or plain Tylenol. (All other over the counter pain medications increase the risk of bleeding after surgery).
The surgery will cause swelling of the tissues inside your nose. There may also be packing or splints placed inside your nose. As a result, it is normal to feel stuffy and congested. Do not take Sudafed or other decongestants as they will likely not relieve your symptoms and may increase your blood pressure. Also do not use any nasal sprays until instructed to do so by your doctor. Usually these will not be started until after your first post-op visit, at which time any packing or stents will be removed in the office.
Use ice packs as tolerated over the bridge of your nose the first day or two after surgery. Also, sleep with your head slightly elevated for the first few nights. You may use two or more pillows. Following these recommendations will help prevent some of the swelling and stuffiness as well as help your body stop any bleeding.
Some large crusts will develop within your nose. It is very important not to pick those or try to remove those crusts yourself. You may take a Q- tip with a little water or peroxide to flick off any unsightly scabs or crusts. It is also very important to keep the inside of your nose as moist as possible during the post operative period as this will help the raw surfaces heal faster. You should irrigate both nostrils at least twice a day with a Sinus Rinse Kit by Neil Med, a Neti Pot, or other similar device. At a minimum, a salt water (saline) nasal spray should be used a few times a day.
Make an appointment to see the doctor approximately 4 to 7 days after the surgery. It is imperative for the most successful outcome that you keep all of your postoperative appointments. Have someone drive you so you can take pain medication prior to your appointment. Occasionally some uncomfortable work may need to be done to ensure proper healing.