After the operation
Immediately after the operation you may feel your nose blocked. This may be because of some dressing inside your nose or some special plastic sheets called splints. These are not used in every case but your surgeon will explain if they have been necessary in your case. Dressings, if used, will usually be removed from your nose within 24 hours but plastic splints may have to stay longer. It is common to have a stuffy blocked up nose even after removing the dressing or splints and this does not mean that the operation has not worked.
Does it hurt?
It is common for the nose to be quite blocked and to have some mild pain for a few weeks after the operation. This usually responds to simple painkillers.
Can I blow my nose?
It is important that you do not blow you nose for the first 48 hours following your operation. Your surgeon will advise you on when you can start to gently blow your nose. Some doctors recommend the use of drops, ointments and salt water sprays after the operation. You will be given specific instructions by the ward staff before your discharge from hospital. Some mucus and blood stained fluid may drain from your nose for the first week or two following the operation and this is normal. It is important to stay away from dusty and smoky environments while you are recovering.
How long will I be off work?
You can expect to go home on the day of your surgery or the day after your operation depending on the size of your operation. You will need to rest at home for at least a week. If you do heavy lifting and carrying at work you should be off work for at least two weeks. You will be given instructions on when to return to the hospital for your follow-up visit.
All operations carry some element of risk in the form of possible side effects. There are some risks that you must know about before giving consent to this treatment. These potential complications are very uncommon. You should discuss with your surgeon about the likelihood of problems in your case before you decide to go ahead with the operation.
Bleeding: Bleeding is a risk of any operation. It is very common for small amounts of bleeding to come from the nose in the days following the operation. Major bleeding is extremely uncommon and it is very rare for a transfusion to be required.
Eye problems: The sinuses are very close to the wall of the eye socket. Sometimes minor bleeding can occur into the eye socket and this is usually noticed as some bruising around the eye. This is usually minor and gets better without any special treatment, although it is important that you do not blow your nose. More serious bleeding into the eye socket sometimes can occur, however this is very rare. This can cause severe swelling of the eye and can even cause double vision or in very rare cases loss of sight. If such a serious eye complication did occur you would be seen by an eye specialist and may require further operations.
Spinal fluid leak: The sinuses are very close to the bone at the base of the brain. All sinus operations carry a small risk of damage to this thin bone with leakage of fluid from around the brain into the nose, or other related injuries. If this rare complication does happen you will have to stay in hospital longer and may require another operation to stop the leak.
How often do complications happen?
In general, major complications are very rare. In a survey of all ENT surgeons who do this type of operation in England, eye complications happened in one in every 500 operations but there was no associated loss of vision. Spinal fluid leaks happened in one case in every 1000 operations, but were detected and repaired at the same operation so the risks are small. Minor complications, including bleeding from the nose occurred more often. One in four patients reported mild persistent bleeding after the operation, which resulted in readmission to hospital in some cases. If you are particularly worried you should ask your surgeon about his or her experience of these complications.
Source ENT : UK
To access the original patient information leaflet visit the ENT UK website where you will find a wealth of information on conditions and procedures relating to ENT.