Sinus Surgery Recovery
When recovering from any form of sinus surgery, it is important to follow your aftercare instructions very carefully. The first two weeks are the most critical to sinus surgery recovery, so pay close attention to the DO’S and DON’TS contained in this article, and you will be on your way to breathing easy in no time!
Sinus Surgery Recovery – Week 1 Instructions and Tips
During the first week of recovery, you should follow your aftercare instructions very carefully. Remember that your nose is in a very delicate state of healing at this juncture, and treating it as such is the key to a quick, painless recovery.
(i) Rest & Relaxation
Making a few, small adjustments to your normal routine will not only help reduce pain, but also lessen the likelihood of complications. First, make sure to sleep in an elevated position each night, for the first two weeks. Prop a few pillows up behind your back, so that your head is raised 30-45 degrees. This will minimize the amount of swelling.
Another tip to keep swelling down is to sit or stand as frequently as possible. If you lay down and your head is in a horizontal position, your sinuses are unable to drain as effectively as when you are in an upright position. You should still remember to get plenty of rest, and not overexert yourself, but try always to rest with your head in an elevated position.
Consider also using a humidifier to keep your bedroom or living room moist with clean air while you heal at home. A humidifier will also help the swelling to decrease and prevent additional congestion.
Tip: When resting after sinus surgery, place two cold compresses over each eye to ease any pain or discomfort from swelling.
(ii) Preventative Care
Preventative care is also a critical part of the healing process. If you sense that you may be coming down with a cold or the flu, take a decongestant as soon as possible; although it will decrease the amount of drainage from your nose, it will not improve the stuffed-up feeling until 7-10 days have passed since your surgery. Remember that many decongestants cause drowsiness, so do not take it before you plan to drive or operate heavy equipment.
Your nose will be severely swollen and tender, so you must treat it gingerly. Take care not to sniff too hard or blow your nose for the first 7-10 days. Do not insert Kleenex or a handkerchief into your nose; instead of wiping your nose, use the drip pad instead.
Tip: If you get the urge to sneeze, remember to always sneeze through your mouth. Sneezing through your nose can disrupt the healing process and cause excruciating pain on a recently-operated nose.
(iii) Proper Aftercare
Cleaning your incisions and changing your dressings are probably the most important steps to take when recovering from your nose or sinus surgery. Dr. Bennett’s staff will provide you with everything you need.
Use peroxide and Q-tips to clean the inside of your nose in the morning, afternoon and night. You can also dab a little bit of a Mupirocin ointment on the end of a Q-tip after cleaning inside around your nostrils to keep them moist.
Tip: Take care to insert no more than half of the cotton head tip into your nostril.
During the first day or two after surgery, you will notice drainage on the dressing that has been placed under your nose. Make sure to change this dressing as needed to stay comfortable and catch any residual discharge.
You will undoubtedly notice a congested feeling the first week following surgery. However, make sure not to use any nasal sprays unless your nose begins to bleed heavily. If this happens, squirt one spray of Afrin (oxymetazoline) into each nostril and call your surgeon.
(iv) Changes to your Daily Routine
There are a few slight changes to your everyday routine and activities that you should always keep in mind when going through sinus surgery recovery.
If your nasal bones were broken, and you wear eyeglasses or sunglasses, opt for contacts for the first six weeks after surgery. Or, if reading at home, you can attach a piece of tape from the bridge of your eyeglasses to the top of your forehead, so that your frames are not touching your nose. You may look a bit silly, but keeping objects from weighing down on your nose will ensure faster healing and beautiful results!
Also, take care not to lift heavy objects or bend over frequently. Ask a friend to help you unload groceries from your car and resist the urge to suddenly add a bit of feng shui to your bedroom. Keep strenuous activity to an absolute minimum, so you avoid bumping or hitting your nose accidentally. Look upward or horizontal when watching television or on the computer.
If you have an appointment at the hair salon, make sure to tell your stylist that you cannot use the salon hair dryer the first week following surgery. Hand-held hair dryers are permissible only.
Try also to stay away from chewy foods, and eat soft, cold or warm foods instead.
Tip: After sinus surgery, it is important to avoid physical contact sports or strenuous exercise. This means no ballet, team sports, yoga class or aerobics.
Sinus Surgery Recovery – Week 2 Instructions & Tips
Week two of your post-op recovery is not much different from the first week, although you will notice that your swelling has been drastically reduced and that you are feeling less and less congested as the days go by.
If you notice increased bleeding from the nose, spray oxymetazoline into the nostrils and pinch them together.
Tip: If you experience any problems as your healing progresses after surgery with our office, or have any questions or concerns, feel free to call us at (212) 980-2600 and someone will assist you immediately.