After Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Doctor examining man’s nose.

After surgery you’ll be moved to a recovery room. You may feel groggy from the anesthesia and will likely have some discomfort. There will be a dressing under your nose to absorb drainage. You may also have packing (absorbent bandage) inside your nose. You can usually go home as soon as you’re no longer feeling groggy. This is usually the same day. In certain cases, you may need to stay overnight.

The first week

Your doctor will schedule an office visit a few days after surgery to check on your progress. At this visit, your doctor will remove dried blood and mucus to help you heal. He or she will also remove any nasal packing. It’s normal to feel stuffiness and have pinkish or dark red drainage. Change your nasal dressing as needed, and take any prescribed medicines. Also be sure to drink plenty of water. Other guidelines from your doctor may include:

  • Rinsing your nose and sinuses with saltwater

  • Sneeze with your mouth open

  • Not blowing your nose

  • Not doing strenuous exercise, straining, or lifting

  • Using a humidifier to keep nasal passages moist

  • Not taking aspirin or ibuprofen

  • Sleeping with your upper body raised

  • Not eating hot or spicy foods

The next few weeks

As you’re healing, it’s normal to feel some stuffiness and have nasal crusting. Keeping your nasal passages clean and moist will help speed the healing process and prevent scarring. Also be sure to:

  • Take medicine as directed

  • Stay away from irritating substances such as dust, chalk, and harsh chemicals

  • Use saltwater rinses or a humidifier as directed.

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Stay away from people who have a cold

  • Stay away from allergic triggers

  • Talk with your doctor before swimming or air travel

When to seek medical care

Call your healthcare provider right away if you notice any of the following:

  • Large amount of bright red bleeding

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Changes in vision, or swelling around the eye

  • Signs of infection, such as yellow or greenish drainage

  • Constant headache or increasing pain

  • Drainage of a large amount of clear fluid

  • Extreme tiredness, or a stiff neck