Deciding whether or not to have sinus surgery is a major decision and one we consider as a last resort. It is only once we have exhausted all other forms of treatment for your sinus problems, that we consider the possibility of surgery.
However, if you do choose to undergo surgery, you need to know what to expect after your procedure is complete and know how you can make the most of your healing time.
Tip 1: Rest! REALLY Rest!
After surgery, you will be groggy and fatigued. These low energy levels usually lasts a week or so, and most people take between one and two weeks off work to aid the recovery process.
In today’s smart phone world, even vacation time means you are constantly checking your emails and never truly switched “off” from work. While it is tempting to always be “on” and available for work, treating your body well and letting it recuperate can, and will, ultimately help you heal more efficiently. Our advice: Turn off that phone and rest!
You should also avoid lifting heavy objects, doing vigorous exercise and even blowing your nose while you are recovering. Your doctor will provide you with more specific details, but in this case rest really does mean rest.
Tip 2: Sleep Elevated
For about a week after your operation, you may wish to sleep on your back with your head elevated to about 30°. To do this, you will typically need to use two or three pillows. This will really aid your recovery, as when your head is raised your sinuses can drain more easily.
Tip 3: Follow Your Treatment Instructions
Post-surgery, your sinus area will be packed (for about 5-7 days) with sterile cotton to absorb fluid drainage. You will need to follow up with your doctor in person to see when this packing is no longer needed.
Also, it is essential that you follow your doctor’s instructions when taking antibiotics, using nasal spray and changing the cotton pads around your nose. You may also be told how to use cold packs or how to perform saltwater rinses.
Tip 4: Have A Plan For Aches And Pains
After surgery, it is common to feel achy, suffer mild headaches and feel congested for a few weeks (in some cases it may be even longer). Extra-strength acetaminophen is often enough to treat any discomfort, aches and pains. However, if you are suffering from severe pain your doctor may prescribe something stronger. NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) should be avoided during recovery.
Tip 5: Know When To Call Your Doctor
Sinus-surgery complications are rare, but if you notice any of the following issues, seek medical help right away:
- A fever of 100.5° or higher
- Eye pain
- Vision problems
- Ongoing clear, watery discharge that lasts more than a week after surgery
- Neck stiffness, combined with a fever, intense headache and severe fatigue
- Intense diarrhea
- Pain that is not relieved by medication
If you have exhausted all avenues of sinus treatment and are weighing up the pros and cons of sinus surgery, we are here to talk. Every person is different and each case is unique, but our expert team can help recommend a treatment plan that is right for your symptoms and your lifestyle.
Having sinus surgery doesn’t guarantee that all of your sinus aches and pains will go away forever. However, for many patients it does mean an improvement in their quality of life. If you have questions about whether sinus surgery is right for you, call us for a consultation anytime.