Nasal Surgery Pre- and Post-op Instructions

Preoperative Instructions

For two weeks prior to surgery, patients are required to avoid alcohol, smoking and, in most patients, medications that thin the blood. Smoking interferes with circulation and healing, and products containing aspirin or ibuprofen increase the risk of bleeding.

Postoperative Recovery and Instructions


  • Limit your activity sharply over the first week following surgery. However, you are encouraged to go for a gentle walk.
  • When you rest or sleep, keep your head elevated with 2-3 pillows and avoid turning onto your side.
  • Avoid bending, lifting, pulling, pushing, straining and aerobic activities for 2 weeks.
  • You may begin to return to regular exercise 2-3 weeks after surgery. Ease into this, gradually increasing your exercise level back to normal.
  • It takes 6 weeks for the nasal bones to fully heal. Slowly resume your activity.
  • You will be instructed on specific nasal exercises at your postoperative appointments. Please make sure you follow through on these instructions, as it will help to decrease scar tissue formation.

Oral Intake:

  • Alcohol consumption should also be limited as this may raise the blood pressure and initiate bleeding. Do not drink alcohol during the first week.
  • Drink plenty of fluids following surgery, as dehydration can contribute to nausea.
  • Small amounts of food 20 minutes before taking postoperative medications (especially pain medications and/or antibiotics) can prevent nausea.


  • You may bathe and shower while the cast is in place; however, the cast must remain dry.
  • You may carefully wash your face with mild soap and clean washcloth or cotton balls, but make sure the cast remains dry.

Pain, Swelling, Bruising, Infection:

  • Most patients complain more of discomfort from nasal and sinus congestion than from pain. Any pain should be controlled via the prescribed medication. After the first day, the pain may subside enough so that Tylenol may be sufficient.
  • Swelling and bruising around the eyes and cheeks is variable. Swelling and bruising maximizes at about two days then subsides over the next 5-7 days. You will be instructed on the use of Arnica, an herb with no known side effects, to minimize bruising.
  • Do not worry if you have excess swelling around the eyes and cheeks. This will clear and not affect the final result. Bruising may persist a few days longer.
  • Infection is also unusual. Fever, localized swelling with redness and tenderness may signify a developing infection and should be reported. Appropriate treatment will be initiated.
  • Your final results will occur between 6-12 months.

Other Common Instructions After Surgery:

  • Do not blow your nose or sniff excessively as this will only irritate the healing tissues. If you must sneeze, open your mouth.
  • Expect your nasal passages to be obstructed by swelling for at least two weeks. A humidifier may help you sleep by allowing you to breathe through your mouth more comfortably.
  • It is normal to have some nasal bleeding over the first twelve hours after surgery. It may be necessary to change the gauze drip-pad a dozen or so times over that period.
  • It is normal to have a pinkish-reddish discharge from your nose and your throat for the first three to four days. This will gradually subside.
  • Smoking should be strictly avoided as it interferes with the blood supply to the healing tissues and slows subsequent healing.
  • Take all medications as instructed postoperatively.
  • Avoid excess sunlight to the nose for at least a year. Do not let your nose become sunburned. Even mild sunburn may cause prolonged swelling or redness. Use sunscreen with zinc oxide and SPF 20 or greater if you will be in the sun.

Nasal Care:

  • Keep your cast dry. It will be removed on postoperative day 7.
  • Change drip pad under nose as needed. Up to a dozen times in the first 24 hours is normal.
  • After packing is removed, use nasal saline mist every 1-2 hours while awake for approximately 2-3 weeks. You may purchase this over the counter. This prevents dryness and crusting on the inside of the nose.
  • Clean your incision with peroxide, and then apply Polysporin ointment to the sutures twice a day.
  • Sutures are removed around a week postoperatively.
  • When the cast is removed, the nose will be quite swollen and the nasal tip will be turned up slightly. This will settle down over the next 3-4 days, then more gradually thereafter
  • Nasal exercises will be given to you at the appropriate time. These are to keep the sides of the nose narrow and in proper alignment, along with decreasing scar tissue formation.

Call the office if you develop any of the following:

  • Fever of 101 degrees F or greater.
  • Pain not relieved with pain medication.
  • Swelling, redness, bleeding and/or foul drainage from incision area.
  • Persistent nausea and/or vomiting.