Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Your Care at Home
What Is Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Your doctor will use a tool called an Endoscope to look into your sinuses through your nose.
Your doctor will remove tissue that is blocking your sinuses. This should improve the way your
What to Expect after Surgery
ξ After surgery you can expect drainage from your nose that will be bright red in color. It
will decrease in amount and turn darker in color over the next few days. A small amount
of blood-tinged drainage may be present for about 10 to 14 days.
ξ You will be sent home with a gauze pad under your nose. Change the pad under your
nose as it becomes soiled. Pads will be sent home with you.
ξ Your doctor may put packing in your nose to prevent bleeding. They may use a packing
that will dissolve. If not, it will be removed at your first clinic visit.
ξ You may take pain medicine 30 minutes before your first clinic visit, only if someone is
able to drive you. This will make the packing removal more comfortable.
ξ Expect your nose to be stuffy. This is caused by swelling that will decrease over the next
2-3 weeks. The stuffy feeling may last as long as a few months as your sinuses fully heal.
ξ Sleep on 2 to 3 pillows (so your head is raised about 30º) for the next week. This will
help decrease the stuffy feeling and pressure in your nose.
ξ You will be breathing through your mouth until the packing is out and the swelling is
less. This may cause some dryness and soreness of your mouth and throat. Using a
humidifier or vaporizer along with good oral care may provide comfort.
ξ Do not blow your nose for 5-7 days after surgery or until your packing has been
removed. This is to help prevent bleeding. Once you begin your nasal flushes, you will
be allowed to gently blow your nose.
ξ If you sneeze, do it with your mouth open. Do not hold back a sneeze.
ξ Do not smoke. Avoid second-hand smoke and other fumes that can irritate the nose.
ξ Discomfort following sinus surgery varies from person to person. You may feel a sense
of pressure while the nasal packing is in place. You will be given pain medicine to use as
needed at home.
ξ Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, naprosyn, or pills that contain these drugs as they may
increase chances of bleeding.
ξ Cold packs to your nose and sinus areas may help to give you more comfort. These work
best if used the first 48 to 72 hours after surgery. Apply every 3 to 4 hours for about 20 to
30 minutes at a time as needed.
ξ Your doctor may have you do a saline mist spray right away after surgery.
ξ After your packing is removed you will be instructed how to flush your sinuses with a
saltwater solution prescribed by your doctor. This helps the sinuses heal better. You
may notice large crusts or scabs coming from the nose after using the saltwater flushes.
This is normal.
ξ For one week only, do light activity. No aerobics, jogging, exercising, swimming, or
ξ For two weeks, avoid bending over and lifting any objects over 25 pounds.
ξ Do not travel by airplane for a few weeks after surgery to avoid pressure changes and the
drying effects of airplane air.
ξ Use caution when taking narcotic pain pills.
-Do not drive a car as the pills may cause you to feel drowsy.
-Do not drink alcohol when taking the pain pills.
ξ Avoid alcohol, coffee, and other drinks that dehydrate.
When to Call Your Doctor or Clinic Nurse
If you have any of the following symptoms, please call your doctor or the clinic nurse.
ξ Vision problems (loss of vision, double vision, or eye pain)
ξ Neck stiffness along with fever, extreme fatigue, and severe headache
ξ Bleeding from the nose, with or without packing
ξ Fever of 100.5 θ F or higher
ξ Pain not relieved by medicine
If you have questions or concerns, please call:
The Otolaryngology (ENT) - Head and Neck Surgery Clinic at (608) 263-6190 Monday -Friday
between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
After 5:00 p.m. or on the weekends, the clinic number will be answered by the paging operator.
Ask for the Otolaryngology (ENT) doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the
area code. The doctor will return your call.
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.
The Spanish version of this HFFY is #6393.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©2/2015. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4840.