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Nasal & Sinus Surgery – Pre & Post-Op Instructions

Rhinoplasty, Septal Surgery, Septorhinoplasty, Balloon-Sinuplasty

(under general anesthesia)


Preoperative prescriptions

  • Prior to surgery, your doctor will most likely prescribe a few medications. It is important to follow our instructions and start the medications at the appropriate times.  Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking and ask whether you should take them the morning of surgery.
  • Although pain medications will be prescribed to you by your doctor, you are encouraged to take extra strength Tylenol or regular Tylenol instead of prescription pain medications for mild pain or discomfort to prevent constipation and nausea.
  • Eliminate aspirin products 2 weeks before surgery. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Aleve) should be stopped 5 days before surgery.
  • Depending on your allergies and degree of disease, an antibiotic will be prescribed to you. Antibiotics should be started the evening of surgery.
  • Purchase a Neil Med® Sinus Rinse Kit for salt water rinses you will do after surgery. These are available at our offices and area pharmacies.
  • Stop smoking at least 3 weeks before your surgery date.
  • Arrange for a ride home after the procedure.
  • Alcohol is a potent vessel dilator and can promote edema or swelling and even bleeding. It is best to abstain from heavy drinking for 2 weeks prior to surgery and to avoid any alcohol intake the week after surgery.

The day of surgery

  • It is extremely important that you do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery, so that the anesthesiologist can safely put you to sleep. If your stomach is not empty the day of surgery, the surgery will have to be postponed.
  • You may take medications prescribed for heart, asthma, seizures, or high blood pressure the morning of surgery with a sip of water.
  • You may brush your teeth.



After Surgery

You can expect some nasal stuffiness and crusting for 3-6 weeks after surgery. Many patients are back to work or school the week following surgery. Following these suggestions can help you prevent complications and recuperate more quickly.


The First Few Days

  • Change the gauze bandage under your nose (if present) as needed. Discontinue when the drainage stops.
  • Sleep with your upper body elevated to keep pressure off of your head.
  • Use pain medication as directed by your doctor or mild non-aspirin pain relievers (Tylenol).
  • Take any additional medications prescribed by your doctor.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dry mouth. A bedside humidifier may be helpful.
  • To help control any bothersome nasal bleeding, an icepack can be applied over the nose and cheeks. Tilt your head forward while sitting up and breathe gently through your nose. Do not snort the blood through your nose as this will promote more bleeding. If bleeding continues, Afrin or Neosynephrine nasal decongestant spray (1-2 sprays in each nostril) may be used sparingly every 6 to 8 hours for 1-2 days.



The First Few Weeks

  • Use salt water (saline) rinses beginning 1 to 2 days after surgery to wash away any crust and surgical debris. Use the Neil Med® Saline Rinse in the bottle to squirt the solution into your nose a few times a day. Afrin or Neosynephrine nasal decongestant spray will open the nasal passage and may be used just before rinsing with salt water.
  • Your doctor may recommend that you use a nasal steroid spray 15-30 minutes after using the salt-water rinse.
  • You will need several visits after surgery to clear out old blood and mucus. During these visits, any persistent inflammation or scar tissue will be removed after a topical anesthetic is sprayed into the nose . For your comfort, we recommend that you take a dose of your prescribed pain reliever immediately before these visits. (Do not take pain medications on an empty stomach). You will need a ride to the first post-operative appointment.
  • For several weeks, you will have some thick discolored drainage from your nose. This occurs as the sinuses begin to clear themselves. This is normal and does not indicate an infection.
  • Take it easy and avoid bending, straining, and exercise for at least 1 week. No vigorous activity is allowed until healing is complete, usually in about 2 weeks.
  • Severe diarrhea from antibiotic usage can be a sign of a serious medical problem. If this occurs, stop taking the antibiotic and contact tour doctor immediately.

Important Tips

  • Cough and sneeze with your mouth open.
  • Do not blow your nose during the first week. During that time, if you have congestion, sniff gently and spit into a tissue.
  • Avoid hot, spicy foods.
  • Do not drink through a straw.


Call your doctor if

  • You are bleeding excessively.
  • You have signs of an infection such as fever, yellow-green drainage, unrelieved headache, or increased pain.
  • You have decreased or double vision, swelling of the eyes, a stiff neck, or extreme fatigue.
  • You have clear watery drainage from your nose.


For medical questions, please call

  • (310) 204-4111, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • If after hours, ask to be connected with our On-call Doctor.