Postoperative Instructions

Postoperative Instructions Following Nasal/Sinus Surgery (Including Septoplasty, Inferior Turbinate Surgery, Endoscopic Sinus Surgery) Without Non-Dissolvable Packing


Postoperative Considerations

  • Mild discomfort is normal and is expected with any surgical procedure.
  • Take your pain medication as needed, but driving is prohibited while taking narcotic medications. You also need to avoid drinking alcohol while taking these medications.
  • It is very common to have significant nasal congestion and difficulty breathing through the nose for up to a week following the procedure.
  • It is expected that you will have bleeding from your nose and discolored nasal drainage for several days to a week.
  • A gauze pad will be placed under your nose after the procedure. Once you are home, you may need to change this pad frequently.
  • You must have a responsible adult drive you home from this procedure.
  • You must have a responsible adult with you for 24 hours after the procedure.

To Achieve the Best Surgical Outcome, Please Follow These Instructions:

  1. Use Afrin® 12-hour decongestant nasal spray – two sprays to each nostril four times per day for three days, and then stop. You can apply two sprays to each nostril every 10 minutes (x4 attempts) if there is active bleeding. Refer to the “How to Treat a Nosebleed” handout for more detailed instructions.
  2. Rinse your nose, starting the morning after surgery, with the NeilMed® sinus rinse bottle provided.  Use ½ of a bottle on each side that was operated on twice per day for three days. You may use it more if you wish.
  3. Use ONLY distilled water in this rinse.
  4. Starting the evening of your procedure, please use four sprays of nasal saline spray (e.g., Ocean®) in each nostril every four hours while you are awake. You may use it more as needed. This will be prescribed to you by your surgeon, but it is also available over the counter.
  5. Absolutely no nose blowing for the first week after the procedure. If you need to sneeze, do so through your mouth.
    • After the first week, you may gently blow your nose.
    • If your nose is very clogged, use nasal saline spray or irrigation as often as you would like.
    • No CPAP use for 1-2 weeks after the procedure. Your surgeon will discuss resuming this with you at your first post-operative appointment.
  6. Please hold on aspirin, aspirin-containing products, or other blood thinners for two weeks following your procedure unless you have discussed otherwise with your provider.
    • Tylenol® is safe to take (do not exceed 4,000mg per day).
  7. Please take all the medication prescribed by your provider:
    • Begin antibiotics and steroids (if applicable) on the morning after the procedure and complete the entire course of therapy.
  8. To minimize morning nasal congestion, it is helpful to sleep with your head elevated on several pillows for 2-3 days. If this is not comfortable or possible, you will do no harm by sleeping flat; however, you may be more congested in the morning.
  9. Refrain from any strenuous activity (lifting anything >15lbs) for at least two weeks. This will help minimize the risk of bleeding.
  10. No flying for one week after the procedure, unless otherwise discussed with your provider.
  11. Call immediately if you experience any of the following:
    • Eye pain
    • Change in vision
    • Swelling or bruising around the eyes
    • Worsening, severe headache
    • Fever >100.5
    • Nosebleed that persists

Call (952) 832-5252 to speak with a triage nurse during normal business hours. There is also a physician available for after-hour emergencies.