After Sinus Surgery
Recovery from sinus surgery depends on your health and which procedure you have, but most people need to be away from work or school for several days. And you may need several weeks to heal completely. Be sure to talk to your doctor, so you understand how best to care for yourself after surgery.
An ethmoidectomy, a maxillary antrostomy, and a powered septoplasty with turbinoplasty are different procedures, but what happens following surgery is similar.
It can take several weeks for you to fully recover. You’ll have some swelling and tenderness inside your nose after the surgery, but this is normal. You may have symptoms like a severe cold or a sinus infection. This is due to swelling, dry blood, mucus, and crusting in your nose. To help your nose and sinuses return to normal, your doctor may recommend nasal irrigation or saline sprays and antibiotic lubricants.
After surgery, it’s important to take good care of your nose and sinuses to let them heal properly and prevent scars.
In most cases, your doctor will have placed temporary nasal packing inside your nose to support the newly opened sinus passages and to absorb excess fluid while your tissues heal. Dissolvable nasal packing from Medtronic can help your sinuses heal faster after surgery1 and is gradually absorbed by your body within a few weeks. (Traditional nasal packing has to be removed at a follow-up visit and can stick to the tissue inside your nose, which can make it painful to remove.)
Here are some suggestions for taking care of your nose and sinuses after surgery:
- Keep your head elevated to help reduce bleeding and swelling after your operation. The first night after surgery, elevate your head with extra pillows or sleep in a recliner.
- If you have packing material and splints in your nose, make sure they stay in place. If the packing gets clogged, breathe through your mouth. Do not remove the packing or splints.
- Some bleeding is normal for 2 to 3 days after your operation. If you think you are bleeding a lot, be sure to call your doctor.
- Don’t blow your nose for at least a week after surgery. Don’t do any heavy lifting, straining, or strenuous exercise. This increases the likelihood of bleeding in your nose.
- If you have to sneeze, try doing it with your mouth open.
- Don’t take aspirin. It slows clotting and increases bleeding.
Depending on your surgery, you’ll be asked to return for a follow-up visit about 3 to 7 days after your operation. During that visit, your doctor will remove any packing (if necessary), make sure that your surgery site is healing according to plan, and give you more instructions on caring for your nose and sinuses.
Nasal Packing Removal
If your doctor used traditional nasal packing, it can be quite painful when he or she removes it. This is because tissue and fluid inside your nose can stick to traditional packing material as the nose heals. Medtronic offers dissolvable nasal packing that is gradually resorbed by the body, so you don’t have to endure the painful removal of traditional nasal packing.
Once your nose and sinuses finish healing, you should be able to resume your normal activity level. Your sinusitis symptoms should be better and you’ll probably have fewer sinus infections in the future. The results of surgery are never guaranteed, however. It’s possible that you may still need some kind of medical therapy to manage your symptoms after surgery. Most patients’ symptoms improve after sinus surgery.
- Berlucchi M, Castelnuovo P, Vincenzi A, Morra B, Pasquini E. Endoscopic outcomes of resorbable nasal packing after functional endoscopic sinus surgery: a multicenter prospective randomized controlled study. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 2009; 266(6):839-45.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
- Take the Sinusitis Quiz
- Take a quiz to see if you may have sinusitis