Sinus Surgery Recovery: What to Expect By dsherris on January 17, 2018

Nasal congestion is more than a nuisance. It can make it difficult to breathe, sleep, or focus. When nasal congestion doesn't go away, it may be a sign of a sinus issue called sinusitis. For some, sinus surgery may be the best course of action to improve nasal airflow and enhance your quality of life.

An illustration of the sinus cavities

Dr. David Sherris uses a variety of techniques when performing sinus surgery to address the unique needs of each patient. Some patients may need to have bone, tissue, or other blockages removed, while some may need nose splints to keep the airways open. Regardless of the types of techniques used, patients should have a general understanding of what to expect during recovery, as we will discuss today. Dr. Sherris provides patients detailed sinus surgery recovery instructions during consultations at his Buffalo, NY, practice. We welcome you to schedule a consultation to learn more.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

The time needed to recover after sinus surgery will vary from patient to patient and depends on several factors, such as the type of surgery performed and personal healing times. With that said, most patients will need to take several days off before returning to work. Patients will also need to wait several weeks before resuming strenuous activity.

Is Recovery Painful?

Pain may be mild to moderate after sinus surgery, while some patients will feel no pain. Those who experience pain may be given prescription pain medication to help manage discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medications may also help, especially for those with only mild discomfort. If taking over-the-counter medications, it is important to have doctor approval and avoid medications with aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen as these can interfere with clotting and increase the risk of bleeding during recovery.

The Nose May Feel Congested

While not everyone experiences pain after surgery, most patients will feel like they have severe nasal congestion due to mucus buildup as well as tissue swelling and scabbing within the nose. As the nose heals, feelings of congestion should dissipate. Most find that the congestion lasts about a week. Patients should not blow their noses during recovery, but regularly irrigating the nose with a sterile saline is recommended. Patients should also be prepared to attend follow-up appointments during which time any mucus or dried blood will be cleaned out of the nose.

Facial Swelling and Bruising May Occur

Although generally mild, patients should be prepared for the possibility of some facial swelling and bruising. If any facial swelling and bruising does occur, it will generally resolve within a week or two. Applying a cold compress or ice pack on areas of swelling can help reduce inflammation and alleviate discomfort.

Recovery Tips

Regardless of the type of sinus surgery performed, patients should take time off from their busy schedules to encourage proper healing. In addition to getting plenty of rest during recovery, patients should follow all post-operative instructions, which may include such recovery tips as:

  • Attend all post-operative visits to ensure the nose is properly healing
  • Irrigate the sinuses at least twice a day with a sterile saline
  • Sleep in an elevated position for the first few weeks of recovery to reduce swelling and improve nasal airflow
  • Limit sodium intake as this will help reduce water retention and swelling
  • Do not blow your nose for about two weeks after surgery
  • Avoid contact sports and strenuous activity for several weeks as these can cause complications

Learn More About Sinus Surgery

If you have sinusitis, or suspect that you do, and would like more information about sinus surgery and recovery, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sherris.

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Dr. David A. Sherris

The Clinic of Facial Plastic Surgery

Dr. David A. Sherris is highly qualified to perform your surgery, with distinguishing achievements such as: 

  • Double board-certification in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, as well as otolaryngology
  • Regular invitations to travel around the world to teach other surgeons 
  • Annually voted as one of the "Best Doctors of America"
  • Thousands of patients around the globe, including other doctors

To schedule your consultation with Dr. Sherris and discuss your options for plastic surgery, contact our practice in Buffalo, NY, online or call us at (716) 884-5102.

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