Nasal and Sinus Surgery Receovery

sinus recovery

The key to recovery, and long term success inside the nose, is the placement of a Doyle splint at the end of the surgery. A recent poll found 85% of advanced board certified Sinus surgeons use this splint, because it works! Because the splint must stay in your nose for 6-8 days, your recovery is easiest keeping 2 things foremost in your mind:

1. Head Elevation. Less sense of congestion is achieved by sitting mostly upright during the day, and sleeping at a 30 degree angle at night.

2. Nutrition and Hydration. The temporary dehydration from mouth breathing and poor nutrition from the splint induced nasal obstruction are overcome by a focus on hydration and nutrition, insuring the most efficient recovery.

You are typically given an antibiotic, pain medication and topical antibacterial cream to apply along the incisions. Light work in an upright position is okay after 3 to 4 days if nutrition is maintained. Additional instructions to achieve the greatest results are discussed when scheduling the procedure.

Unlike the gauze packing from 15-20 years ago, 90% of patients find the Doyle splints slide out quite easily, giving you the first, and incredible sense of improved nasal airflow and function.

One of the most unique features of Nasal and Sinus surgery, is how to recover over the next few weeks. You can now feel the sensitive nature of your healing nasal passages and airflow across the healing tissue unlike other surgeries, where the healing tissue would still be bandaged, the inside of your nose will now have no bandage. The other unique feature, is that the healing tissue will now receive extensive airflow.

Since the nasal passages are designed to warm, filter and humidify air flowing into the lungs, the best way to move your recovery toward completion is to avoid extreme exposures over the next few weeks. Specifically, I ask you to do two main things:

1. Spray your nose with saline every hour you are awake over the next 2 weeks until your next visit. Use a gentle sniff to “wet” your nasal passage. A heavy sniff will cause most of the saline to go down your throat. The more moisture, the faster you heal.
2. Avoid these exposures: dust, dirt, chemicals, sprays of any kind, cleaners, sweeping, dusting, mowing, yard work, long term exposure to cold air and smoke of any kind. Understand this is just about impossible, just do your best. If you do get an exposure, just use additional saline spray.

Remember, all healing is an inflammatory response. Before your next visit, expect to have the feeling of a head cold, congestion, thick mucous in nose or throat, and ear fullness or congestion. A scab or crust may come out of your nose over the next few weeks.

It is normal for your voice to slightly change pitch due to the increased nasal airflow with speech.

It is ok to lay down and sleep now. Over the next few weeks, you should begin to experience improved sleep quality. DO NOT BLOW OR MOVE YOUR NOSE while wiping it for three more weeks, as all the tissues, especially the septum, need to heal more before it receives any forceful pressure. No swimming, gym or strenuous athletic activity until physician’s permission.

If you are sneezing over the next few weeks, begin daily over the counter Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, Loratodine or Alavert (Not “D” version of any of these medications), to slow allergic reactivity during early healing. You should also be on a medicated nasal spray like Flonase, Nasonex, etc… if sneezing persist.