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Nasal & Sinus Surgery Post Care

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  • Expect bleeding and possible blood clots from the nose the first 24 hours. You may also throw up a small amount of blood, which is caused by swallowing bloody drainage. This is common, so do not be alarmed.
  • You will have a “mustache” gauze dressing taped to your cheeks to absorb the nasal drainage. Replace as needed, which may be frequently. You may want to place a base layer of tape on your cheeks so that the frequent removal of the mustache dressing does not irritate your skin.
  • Sleep in a recliner or with head of bed elevated the first 48 hours to minimize bleeding and swelling.
  • You will have nasal packing the first night which will be removed on the day after surgery, or later as written on your discharge instruction sheet. This may make it difficult to sleep. Taking your pain medication and sleeping with your head elevated will help.
  • You may be asked to remove the packing yourself. It is about 1 ½ inches long and should come out easily with a gentle steady pull. Some bleeding can be expected immediately after. You may insert a small cotton ball inside the nostril until the oozing subsides.
  • Drink plenty of liquids and start with soft foods. Advance to a regular diet as tolerated.
  • After packing is removed, you can expect to continue to have bloody drainage for 4-6 hours.
  • You may shower after packing is removed.
  • You will then need to gently clean the dissolving stitches inside your nostrils with a Q-tip dipped in hydrogen peroxide twice a day. Follow by applying antibiotic ointment, such as Bacitracin, to accelerate healing and prevent crusting. Aquaphor healing ointment may be substituted for Bacitracin for allergic patients.
  • You may use Saline Nasal Spray: 3 sprays each nostril, 5 times a day to treat congestion.
  • Take pain medications as needed and complete antibiotics as ordered. Avoid Aspirin and Ibuprofen for the first week.



Additional Instructions for Rhinoplasty Surgery Only:


  • Expect nasal swelling and discoloration of eyelids to peak on the second day and last up to a week.
  • Applying cold compresses for 10-minute intervals may reduce swelling and bruising during the first 24 hours. Frozen peas in a zip lock baggie works well.
  • You will have a cast on the bridge of your nose for the first week. This is to protect it from injury. Please limit duration of showers, as steam may cause the cast to soften and fall off. If cast falls off earlier than 5 days post-op, tape back in place. It will be removed on your 1-week post-op visit.
  • Avoid exertion the first week, and contact sports and swimming for 3 weeks. Your nose will reach full strength in 6 weeks.


Please call us for persistent bleeding, fever, pain uncontrolled by pain medications, displaced packing, yellow or green drainage, or injury to nose.

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