If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, it might seem as though nothing helps. You’re constantly battling congestion. Various areas around your face and head are uncomfortable and even painful. Even when your symptoms are caused by bacteria, antibiotics might not seem to help much. When nothing else relieves your symptoms, sinus surgery might be the best option for you.
New sinus surgery techniques, such as endoscopic sinus surgery and balloon sinuplasty, are considerably less invasive than methods used in the past. Still, you will most likely need to take some time off from work and even avoid certain activities for awhile afterward. If you’re considering sinus surgery, here’s what you can expect from the process.
How You’ll Feel After Sinus Surgery
Sometimes, things might seem to get worse before they get better. You might say that is true after sinus surgery. For example, during the first few days after an endoscopic procedure, it’s common to feel some pressure or even pain in your sinuses. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can help ease any discomfort you feel after surgery. Since some pain relievers like aspirin and NSAIDs can increase your risk for bleeding, your surgeon will most likely recommend avoiding those.
Speaking of bleeding, you might notice some bleeding after your surgery. Usually the bleeding isn’t severe and should taper off after about three days. Irrigating the sinuses with saline can seem to make it worse. Tipping your head back and breathing gently through the nose should help reduce the bleeding. Nasal sprays can also help.
If the bleeding keeps up for several days or doesn’t respond to nasal sprays, it’s a good idea to call your surgeon’s office for advice.
You might also feel worn out and tired after a sinus surgery. That’s to be expected. The best thing to do is to relax and rest up afterward.
How Long You’ll Need to Take Off
Even if you don’t feel tired after your surgery, it’s a good idea to take some time off from your usual activities, whether that includes work, school or other commitments. How long you should take off depends on several factors. The less invasive your surgery, the less time you may need for recovery. If you have a balloon sinuplasty procedure, you might feel ready to return to work after just a few days. If you have an endoscopic procedure, you might want to take a week off or longer.
The type of work you do also determines how long you’ll need to take off. If your job is mostly sedentary or you’re returning to a classroom, you might feel OK going back after a week or less. But if you have an active job that requires a lot of movement or needs you to be super alert, you might want to give yourself more time to fully recover and to get back to 100 percent.
What You Should Avoid After Sinus Surgery
During the first few weeks or even the first full month after your surgery, there are a few things you will need to avoid in order to reduce the risk for complications or further injury. Although you might feel congested after surgery, your surgeon will tell you not to blow your nose during the first couple of weeks.
You will also need to avoid any sort of activity that puts pressure on the nose or in the sinuses. If you feel like you have to sneeze during the first week after your surgery, try to do so with an open mouth so that it comes out like a cough and doesn’t put pressure on your nose. Washing your nasal passages with saline during those first few weeks after surgery can help ease congestion without blowing your nose.
Your surgeon will also most likely recommend that you avoid exercise for the first few weeks after your sinus procedure. You don’t have to be couch-bound during that time, though. Light exercise, such as a brisk walk, is usually OK. Your doctor will let you know when you can return to the gym or partake in other more vigorous forms of activity.
There are also a few medications you’ll want to steer clear off during the first weeks after surgery. For example, steroid nasal sprays can irritate the healing sinus passages. Your surgeon might recommend avoiding them for at least two weeks or until after you’ve had your first post-surgery doctor’s visit.
ABOUT DR. RUBINSTEIN
Dr. Rubinstein has nearly sixteen years of experience in helping patients with chronic sinus infections and other nasal problems in the Hudson Valley. A board certified facial plastic surgeon and board certified otolaryngologist, he has extensive knowledge of laser procedures, facial plastic surgery, and nasal and sinus treatments. This allows him to improve aesthetics as well as functionality of the nose and facial features. Dr. Rubinstein received his board certifications through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. To learn more about what to expect after sinus surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rubinstein at the Hudson Valley Sinus Center by calling 845-562-6673.