Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Your Care at Home
What Is Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Your doctor will perform endoscopic sinus surgery to remove tissue that is blocking your sinuses. This should improve the way your sinuses drain.
What to Expect after Surgery
After this surgery you can expect drainage from your nose that will be bright red in color. It will decrease in amount and turn darker in color over the next few days. A small amount of blood-tinged drainage may be present for about 10 to 14 days.
You will also feel a sense of pressure while the nasal packing is in place. The packing is removed within 5 to 7 days. This may be more of an ache or feeling of pressure rather than sharp pain. It can last about 7 to 10 days. Nasal congestion is often the worst for the first 2-3 weeks. A stuffy feeling may persist longer as it takes a few months for your sinuses to fully heal.
What to Do
Learning to care for yourself is an important part of your healing. These steps may guide you during your first few days after surgery.
Change the pad under your nose as it becomes soiled. Pads will be sent home with you.
Sleep on 2 to 3 pillows (so your head is raised about 30º) for the next week. This will help decrease the stuffy feeling and pressure in your nose.
Cold packs to your nose and sinus areas may help to give you more comfort. These work best if used the first 48 to 72 hours after surgery. Apply every 3 to 4 hours for about 20 to 30 minutes at a time as needed.
Frequent mouth care or drinking more fluids may help your mouth feel better while the packing is in place.
A bedside humidifier or steam inhalation will help loosen secretions. Be sure to clean the machine on a regular basis using the manufacturer's recommendations.
Take all of the antibiotics prescribed to help prevent infection.
Take all pills and use the steroid nasal spray as prescribed to help decrease the swelling.
Take your pain pills to help lessen the pain. Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, naprosyn, or pills that contain these drugs as they may increase chances of bleeding.
Expect a few clinic visits so your doctor can see how your sinuses are healing. Take your pain pills about 30 minutes before your first clinic visit when the packing will be removed. Plan to have someone drive you home from this visit.
Flush your sinuses with a saltwater solution prescribed by your doctor. These will be started after the packing is removed. You will be given instructions on how to do this. This helps the sinuses heal better and is an important part of your healing. You may notice large crusts or scabs coming from the nose after using the saltwater flushes. This is normal.
Cautions and Restrictions
Do not blow your nose for 5-7 days after surgery to help prevent bleeding. You may sniff back secretions. Once you begin your nasal flushes, you will be allowed to gently blow your nose.
If you sneeze, do it with your mouth open. Do not hold back a sneeze.
For one week only, do light activity. No aerobics, jogging, exercising, swimming, or contact sports.
For two weeks, avoid bending over and lifting any objects over 25 pounds.
Use caution when taking narcotic pain pills.
- Do not drive a car as the pills may cause you to feel drowsy.
- Do not drink alcohol when taking the pain pills.
Avoid alcohol, coffee, and other drinks that dehydrate.
Do not smoke. Avoid second-hand smoke and other fumes that can irritate the nose.
Do not travel by airplane for a few weeks after surgery to avoid pressure changes and the drying effects of airplane air.
When to Call Your Doctor or Clinic Nurse
If you have any of the following symptoms, please call your doctor or the clinic nurse.
- Vision problems (loss of vision, double vision, or eye pain)
- Neck stiffness along with fever, extreme fatigue, and severe headache
- Bleeding from the nose, with or without packing
- Fever of 100.5° F or higher
- Pain not relieved by medicine
If you have questions or concerns, please call:
The Otolaryngology (ENT) - Head and Neck Surgery Clinic at (608) 263-6190 Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
After 5:00 p.m. or on the weekends, the clinic number gives you the paging operator. Ask for the Otolaryngology (ENT) doctor on call and leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will return your call.
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.
The Spanish version of this HFFY is #6393.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 04/27/2011
Copyright © 04/27/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4840
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