When recovering from any form of nasal surgery, it is important to follow your aftercare instructions very carefully. The first two weeks are the most critical, so pay close attention to the DO’S & DON’T contained in this article, and you will be on your way to breathing easy in no time!
Nasal Surgery Recovery – Week 1 Instructions & Tips
During the first week after your procedure, please 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 more rapid 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, or sleep in a reclining chair, so that your head is raised 20-45 degrees. This will minimize the amount of swelling in your face and nose.
Another key to reducing swelling is not to lie down flat, but to sit or stand at regular intervals. If you lay down and your head is in a horizontal position, your sinuses will swell and 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 prevent your throat from becoming dried out when you may have a limited ability to breathe through your nose. The moisture is also good for your sinuses.
Tip: When resting after 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. Drinking plenty of fluids and taking vitamin C will help flush the toxins out of your body and assist in tissue healing. The value of getting enough sleep while your body recovers cannot be underestimated. Eating healthy foods and avoiding alcohol and tobacco allows your body to focus attention on healing your nose.
Your nose will be severely swollen and tender, so you must treat it gingerly. Take care not to sniff inward too hard or blow your nose until your doctor says its OK or at least for the first 7-10 days. Do not insert Kleenex or a handkerchief into your nose; instead of wiping your nose, use a 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 or bleeding on a recently-operated-on nose.
(iii) Proper Aftercare
Cleaning your incisions and changing your dressings are important when recovering from your nose or sinus surgery. Dr. Bennett’s staff will provide you with everything you need.
Use peroxide and Q-tips, inserted no more than half the white head of the Q-tip, to clean the inside of your nose morning, afternoon and night. You can also dab a little bit of antibiotic ointment on the end of a long Q-tip and apply it twice per day 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 have decreasing amounts of 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 drainage. When the nose stops draining, you can stop using a dressing under the nose.
You will undoubtedly notice a congested feeling for at least the first week or more 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.
(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 healing from nose or sinus surgery.
If your nose has been broken and you normally 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.
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, and not too hot or cold foods as well.
Tip: After nasal surgery, it is important to avoid physical contact sports or strenuous exercise. This means no ballet, team sports, kick-boxing, yoga class or aerobics.
Nasal 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 any significant bleeding from the nose, like a stream of blood, spray oxymetazoline into the nosril and pinch them together. If the bleeding does not stop you should call your doctor or go to an emergency room.
Tip: As a surgical patient of Dr. Bennett, if you experience any problems as your healing progresses, or have any questions or concerns, feel free to call the office at (212) 980-2600 and someone will assist you immediately.