Before leaving hospital make sure you’re clear about:
- how to care for your nose
- safe levels of activity
- driving (don’t forget to also check with your car insurance company in case they have any restrictions following an operation)
- symptoms for which you should seek further medical attention
- any changes to your regular medication
- what kind of exercise you can do
- pain management
Some bleeding and discharge is normal in the first few weeks after nasal surgery. If bleeding persists, sit forwards slightly and breathe through your mouth, spitting out any blood if you need to. Avoid blowing your nose. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes, contact your doctor or go to your hospital’s emergency department.
To avoid nosebleeds, don’t smoke, have hot drinks, spicy food or alcohol for 2 days after your surgery.
Managing nasal congestion
Your nose will feel blocked until the swelling goes down, which may take at least 2 weeks. Sleeping and resting with your head elevated on 2 pillows can relieve congestion.
Keeping your sinuses clear
Your surgeon may ask you to use a sinus rinse or saline nasal spray. Your surgeon or a nurse will show you how to do this. Sinus irrigation can help clear any debris left in your nose and make it feel much better.
Restrictions on activities
You should avoid blowing your nose while you’re healing. Check with your surgeon before planning any air travel. Your surgeon may also ask you to avoid heavy lifting or playing sport.
You may have a feeling of pressure in your nose and some pain for several days. If you have pain, take the painkillers your surgeon or anaesthetist has prescribed. Paracetamol is okay for pain relief, but avoid taking aspirin or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen or diclofenac as they can increase the risk of nosebleeds.
Most people feel tired after nasal surgery and this can last for a week.
Until the inside of your nose has healed, you’re more at risk of infection, so stay away from people with colds or chest infections.
Avoiding smoke and dust
Smoke and dust can irritate your nose and may increase your risk of infection.
Returning to work
Follow your surgeon’s advice about how much time to take off work. Most people need at least 1 week off.
It’s important that you follow up with your surgeon after the surgery. Your surgeon will probably want to see you to have your nose cleared of blood and fluid. This can be uncomfortable, so take some painkillers beforehand.
Time to full recovery
Although you may be able to return to work in 1 to 2 weeks, full recovery from turbinate surgery may take 6 weeks or more.
Watching out for problems
Call your surgeon if you experience:
- severe headache or a stiff neck
- swelling around your eye or changes in vision
- a nose bleed that doesn’t stop after 15 minutes