Recovery from Nasal Polyp Surgery

You may be already be experiencing the symptoms or have been treated for nasal polyps. If this is the case and treatment with medicine has not worked then surgery may be the best course of action. On the day of your nasal polyp removal surgery, you typically can leave the surgery center an hour or two after the procedure. You will be tired and have some bloody oozing from your nose that typically slows within a day or two but can last more than a week. Average recovery time is about 2 weeks before you feel pretty normal again.  Click here to see what nasal polyps look like. Because the polyps are caused by inflammation inside of the nose, complete recovery time can be a bit more extensive than other nasal surgeries. In general, there is not much pain after your operation. It will feel like one of the worst  colds of your life because of the congestion and clots inside your nose. You will feel some discomfort but there are medications to manage the pain and keep you as comfortable as possible. Some people are actually able to breathe better immediately following the nasal polyp removal! Keep in mind you may experience congestion until your nose has fully recovered. Fatigue is normal for a couple of days or weeks following the surgery. Nausea can occur due to the effects of anesthesia, from nasal discomfort, and from post-nasal drip after waking up from the surgery. The most difficult part has been completed, now it is time to relax and recover.

after polyp surgery

Recovery (First Two Weeks)

It is important to rest and not disrupt the healing process throughout this time. Stay away from dusty or high pollen areas. If you are a smoker, doctors recommend not smoking for at least two weeks after your surgery. Some doctors will not operate on patients with nasal polyps due to a smoker’s increased chance of polyp recurrence. Smoking causes the tiny vessels in your nose to shrink which can slow healing. Being exposed to smoke can cause nasal inflammation and delay your recovery time. The doctor will tell you not to blow your nose for the first two weeks to prevent bleeding and allow the nose to heal. As your doctor discussed with you, the most common symptoms with the recovery process are oozing from the nose, swelling, pain, and trouble breathing through your nose due to congestion. Avoid taking hot baths or consuming hot beverages for the first two weeks as this can also cause bleeding. If you start to feel any discomfort, only take the pain medications your doctor has prescribed because many other pain medications can increase the risk of bleeding. Try to keep from doing things to increase pressure to your nose to lower the risk of nosebleeds. Examples of increasing pressure are exercising, looking down, bending over for extended periods of time, and driving (at least for the first week after surgery). All these activities are considered strenuous and can delay the healing process or cause complications. Stay in an elevated position with pillows to support your head and neck. Saline flushes will be recommended to prevent from the formation of crusts and help wash out clots.

rest after polyp surgery

Nosebleeds Post-Operation

You may experience sudden nosebleeds the first weeks following removal of the nasal polyps. The reason that nosebleeds can happen is because crusting can pull away from a healing vessel. It is important not to blow your nose or pick at any crusts during the healing process in order to lower the risk of infection and nosebleeds. If you need to clean around your nose, use a cotton-tipped applicator with hydrogen peroxide so you can minimize the trauma to the inside of your nose and lower the risk of bleeding and infection. Be careful during your recovery not to hit your nose and be sure to limit your physical activity. Alcohol can both thin the blood and cause the vessels in your nose to dilate which can cause nosebleeds to happen as well. It is recommended to not consume alcohol for at least 2 weeks following the surgery.

minimal nose bleeding

Aid and Advice if You Have a Nosebleed

Here are some tips and advice on what to do if you have a nosebleed. A nosebleed is not just a little oozing from your nose but a steady flow out of the front of your nose or down your throat. It is important not to panic if this occurs. If you do experience heavy nosebleeds, spray Afrin (oxymetazoline) into the nose and then pinch closed the soft part of your nostrils with your thumb and forefinger for twenty minutes without looking.  You should be sitting up with your head tilted slightly forward. Keep in mind to spit out the blood and avoid swallowing to prevent nausea. Apply a cold compress like a soft ice gel pack or a bag of frozen peas to the bridge of your nose. You should call your sinus surgeon and let them know what is happening so they can give you further advice. If none of these tips stop the bleeding, please call your sinus surgeon or go to your nearest medical facility immediately. It is normal for the nose to ooze some blood turning to a clear pink fluid for a few days after surgery and you should wear a cotton gauze across your nostrils and not sniff or blow your nose.

Nasal Polyp Surgery Recovery

In conclusion, the average time for recovery from Nasal Polyp Surgery is about two weeks. If you follow these tips you should quickly be able to return to your normal activities. Most patients notice better breathing soon after surgery.  It is important to attend your scheduled follow-ups after the procedure. The doctor will typically schedule them weekly or every other week for about four to six weeks to ensure proper healing. At your doctor’s office, you will have limited but uncomfortable procedures, called debridements, to remove crusting and prevent the formation of scar tissue. Proper care will help ensure a safe and quick recovery after your nasal polyp removal.