Search the Health Library
Get the facts on diseases, conditions, tests and procedures.
I Want To...
I Want To...
Find Research Faculty
Enter the last name, specialty or keyword for your search below.
School of Medicine
Post Operative Instructions
What to Expect After Endoscopic Sinus Surgery:
- Bleeding: It is normal to have some bloody discharge for the first 3-5 days after sinus surgery, especially after you irrigate your sinuses. If steady bleeding occurs after surgery, tilt your head back slightly and breathe through your nose gently. You may dab your nose with tissue but avoid any nose blowing. If this does not stop the bleeding you may use Afrin spray. Several sprays will usually stop any bleeding. If Afrin fails to stop steady nasal bleeding then you should call our office or the on call doctor (see contact below).
- Pain: You should expect some nasal and sinus pressure and pain for the first several days after surgery. This may feel like a sinus infection or a dull ache in your sinuses. Extra-strength Tylenol is often all that is needed for mild post-operative discomfort. You should avoid aspirin and NSAIDs such as Motrin, Advil, and Aleve (see below). If Tylenol is not sufficient to control the pain, you should use the post-operative pain medication prescribed by your doctor.
- Fatigue: You can expect to feel very tired for the first week after surgery. This is normal and most patients plan on taking at least 1 week off of work to recover. Every patient is different and some return to work sooner.
- Nasal congestion and discharge: You will have nasal congestion and discharge for the first few weeks after surgery. Your nasal passage and breathing should return to normal 2-3 weeks after surgery.
- Postoperative visits: You will have a certain number of postoperative visits depending on what surgery you have. During these visits we will clean your nose and sinuses of fluid and blood left behind after surgery. These visits are very important to aid the healing process so it is essential that you attend all those scheduled for you. There is some discomfort involved with the cleaning so it is best to take a pain medication (described above) 45 minutes before your visit.
What to Avoid After Endoscopic Sinus Surgery:
- Nose Blowing and Straining: You should avoid straining, heavy lifting (> 20 lbs) and nose blowing for at least 10 days after surgery. Straining or nose blowing soon after surgery may cause bleeding. You can resume 50% of your regular exercise regimen at 1 week after surgery and your normal routine 2 weeks after surgery.
- Aspirin or Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medications: Aspirin and NSAIDs such as Motrin, Advil, and Aleve should be stopped 2 weeks prior to surgery. Aspirin and NSAIDs such may cause bleeding and should be avoided for 2 weeks after surgery.
- Steroid Nasal Sprays: If you were taking nasal steroid sprays prior to surgery you should avoid using these for at least 2 weeks after sinus surgery to allow the lining of the nose and sinuses to heal. Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to restart this medicine.
Postoperative Care Instructions:
- Nasal Saline Spray: Nasal saline mist spray can be used every 2-3 hours after surgery and can make your nose more comfortable after surgery. These sprays (Ayr, Ocean, Simple Saline) are over-the-counter medications and can be purchased in any pharmacy.
- Sinus Irrigations: You will start the sinus irrigations with the sinus rinse kits (NeilMed Sinus Rinse Kit) the day after surgery. This must be performed at least twice daily. Your doctor or nurse will show you how to perform the irrigations. At first they will feel strange if you haven’t done them before. Soon, however, they will become quite soothing as they clean out the debris left behind in your sinuses after surgery. You can expect some bloody discharge with the irrigations for the first few days after surgery. These irrigations are critical for success after sinus surgery!
When to Call After Surgery:
- Fever after the day of surgery higher than 101°F
- Constant clear watery discharge after the first week of surgery
- Sudden visual changes or eye swelling
- Severe headache or neck stiffness
- Severe diarrhea
- Steady, brisk nose bleeding that doesn’t get better after using Afrin
Who to Call After Surgery:
During the day you should call the clinic at: 410-955-6070
After hours you should call: 410-955-6242