What should I do after endoscopic sinus surgery?

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Garrett H. Bennett, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
Patients need to rest and relax after endoscopic sinus surgery. Your doctor will give you instructions that you should read and follow. The following instructions are for the first week:
  1. Head elevation- Prop yourself up in bed or on the couch. Don’t let your head get below your heart. No lifting more than 10 pounds. If you need to pick something up, you should squat straight down and never bend over. Don’t look down at computer screens for long periods as this increases sinus pressure and congestion.
  2. Rest- Try not to walk more than 5 minutes at a time. Take short showers so you don’t get overheated. Don’t stand when you can sit, don’t sit when you can lie down.
  3. Pain management- Your doctor will give you a stronger pain medicine. Usually Percocet or Darvocet. You may also take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Don’t take more than 1000 mg of acetaminophen every 4 hours as this can be toxic to your liver. Don’t take any other pain medicines as aspirin and ibuprofen (Motrin) may increase the risk of bleeding.
  4. Hydration and Diet- Drink plenty of water. No alcohol as this will dehydrate you. Dehydration will slow healing and increase pain and nausea. Foods and beverages that are too hot, too cold or spicy or chewy will stimulate your nose and possible cause sneezing and bleeding. A humidifier can keep your throat from becoming dried out when sleeping.
  5. Cleaning- Your nose will drain for a couple of days or maybe all week. You may be completely congested for weeks. Saline rinsing the nose twice daily beginning day 2 after surgery can help the sinuses clear quicker. Using Q-tips with hydrogen peroxide can clean crusting only outside of the nose. Change the dressing under your nostrils when it soaks thru and stop wearing the dressing when you stop draining.
Week 2 is pretty much like the first week except probably better. You should have a little less congestion. Should you have increased bleeding you want to spray some oxymetazoline (Afrin) into the nose, pinch the nose for 20 minutes without looking, and call your doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.