Postoperative Instructions

Postoperative Instructions Following Nasal/Sinus Surgery (Including Septoplasty, Inferior Turbinate Surgery, Endoscopic Sinus Surgery) With 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 (PERCOCET®, NORCO®, Tylenol® #3, etc.) 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. If you are changing the pad more often than once an hour, you should call the clinic.
  • 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.

Immediately Following Your Procedure

In the period immediately following the procedure you will put nothing into the nose, but you should follow the instructions below:

  • 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 clogged, use the nasal saline spray or irrigation as often as you would like.
    • No CPAP use for 1-2 weeks after the procedure.
  • Please take all the medication prescribed by your provider:
    • Begin antibiotics and steroid on the morning after the procedure and complete the entire course of therapy.
  • Please hold on aspirin, aspirin-containing products, ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or other blood thinners for two weeks following your procedure unless you have discussed otherwise with Dr. Getnick, Dr. Mingo or Dr. Wudel.
    • Tylenol® is safe to take (do not exceed 4,000mg per day).
  • To minimize morning nasal congestion, sleeping with your head elevated on several pillows for 2-3 days is helpful. If this is not comfortable or possible, you will do no harm by sleeping flat; however, you may be more congested in the morning.
  • Refrain from any strenuous activity (no lifting >15lbs) for at least 2 weeks. This will help minimize the risk of bleeding.
  • No flying for 1-2 weeks after the procedure unless otherwise discussed with your provider.
  • 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

To achieve the best surgical outcome, please follow these instructions starting after your nasal packing has been removed or when instructed by your provider at a post-operative appointment:

  • Start using Afrin® (available over the counter), the morning after the procedure. Two sprays to each nostril four times per day for three days, and then stop. You can also apply two sprays to each nostril every 10 minutes (x4 attempts) if there is active bleeding.
  • Rinse your nose starting the morning after the procedure, with a NeilMed® sinus rinse bottle (also available over the counter). Use ½ of the bottle on each side that was operated on twice a day for three days. You may use this more if you wish. Please only use distilled water or recently boiled water in these rinses.
  • After the first three days, 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.


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