Richmond’s Nasal and Facial Plastic Surgery Specialists

Nasal & Sinus Surgery Postoperative Instructions

Please make an appointment for follow-up after surgery. Please schedule this appointment now. Although routine post-op care is included in the cost of septoplasty, rhinoplasty and most other surgeries, insurance guidelines require a co-pay (and possibly a referral) for postoperative endoscopic examinations after sinus surgery.

DRESSING: Light red to clear drainage from the nose is normal for 3-5 days following surgery. The outside gauze dressing may be removed or changed when soiled or saturated. A 2×2 gauze pad folded under the nostrils and held in place with a strip of paper tape or folded surgical mask is sufficient.

PACKING: Nasal packing is generally removed in the recovery room while you are awakening. If necessary we sometimes leave packing in the nose and remove it in 1-3 days in the office.

MEDICATION: Headache, sinus or nasal discomfort is common after surgery. You should have pain medication for this. An antibiotic and a nausea medication may also be prescribed. Continue all preoperative sinus and allergy medicines. Steroid nasal sprays should be used TWICE daily until you are healed.

SALINE IRRIGATIONS: You should flush out your nose with 8 ounces of saline solution at least twice daily to remove old blood and secretions, reduce crusting, keep sinus openings clear and stimulate the natural mucous flow in the nose. I recommend the Sinus Rinse squeeze bottle. You may also use a Netti pot, Waterpik or a Toomey syringe. Saline solution can be economically made at home by adding ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp of baking soda to 8 ounces of warm water. Additive-free pickling or canning salt is preferred to iodized table salt. Please use bottled or boiled water if you have well water. Use your steroid nose spray about 15 minutes after you irrigate.

ACTIVITY: No strenuous activities or lifting should be attempted for at least 10-14 days after surgery as this might produce bleeding. Do not blow your nose for 2 weeks after sinus surgery, as you could spread infection to the eye.

EAT AND DRINK NORMALLY: Avoid alcoholic beverages and tobacco.

When to Call the Doctor

Call our offices if any of the following are noted:

  • Excessive, bright red bleeding
  • Persistent clear watery drainage from the nose or salty tasting drainage down the throat.
  • Double or blurred vision. Decreased ability to move or close eyes, or eye pain.
  • Foul odor or fever over 101.0 F.
  • Stiffness or pain in the neck or decreased alertness.