Nasal Surgery Instructions

Before Your Surgery

1) You may be given prescriptions for antibiotics, antibiotic ointment, anti-nausea suppositories, and/or pain medication – please fill these prior to surgery, and begin taking antibiotics as prescribed. We recommend that you also purchase hydrogen peroxide and Q-tips.

2) Make an appointment for your first check up for 6-7 days after the surgery. Your nasal splint will be removed at this visit.

3) Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your surgery.

After Your Surgery

1) Resume your antibiotics regiment (taken with food), and take additional medications as prescribed.

2) Keep and ice pack on your nose and eyes for 12 hours after surgery. Your recovery room nurse will show you exactly how to do so. This helps keep swelling, bruising and oozing to a minimum. Pad the ice with gauze or a cloth if it gets too cold.

3) Resting and sleeping should be done with your head propped up 30 to 45 degree in a reclining chair, or with multiple pillows, for the next 3-5 days. This helps prevent swelling, bruising and oozing.

4) Change your nasal “drip pad” as often as needed. It will not be unusual to do this every 10 to 15 minutes for the first 8 to 12 hours after surgery. You may discontinue wearing the drip pad when drainage stops.

5) For the first ten days after surgery avoid straining, bending, and heavy. This helps prevent swelling, bruising and bleeding.

6) You may use Afrin to control excess bleeding.

7) Your nose will require 4-6 weeks to become sturdy, and 3 months or more to regain full strength. Avoid strenuous activity and sports during this period.

8) Most stiffness will subside within 1-4 weeks, swelling within 2-6 weeks, and congestion after 4-8 weeks – but it may take as long as one year for your nose to fully develop its new appearance.

9) Please keep and attend follow-up appointments – this is vital to ensuring that your surgery heals properly and results in the best possible look.

Sponge Removal

(Have a responsible adult with you)

1) You will have a foam sponge strip in each nostril, which we refer to as “packing”, and will therefore have to breathe through your mouth initially. Keeping your lips moistened with Vaseline will help the dryness. Your ears may “pop” when you swallow – this may reduce your interest in eating for 24 hours.

2) The packing will typically come out in 24-48 hours – we will tell you when specifically. If your nose required extensive septal surgery or sinus windows, the packs will be left for 48 hours or longer.

3) The removal process:

Assemble the following – a chair, tweezers, nasal spray, tissues, wastebasket, and mirror.

While seated in a chair, before removing packing, saturate each nasal sponge with Afrin Nasal Spray and tilt head back for 5-10 minutes to moisten the sponges.

C. Lean over the wastebasket. With tweezers, grasp the end of one of the sponges and pull firmly with one continuous motion – it should come out easily. Repeat with the second sponge.

D. Spray into each nostril 5 to 10 times with Afrin Nasal Spray and tilt head forward for 10 to 15 minutes. This should help stop any bleeding. Repeat if bleeding continues longer than 3-5 minutes.

E. Do not swallow the blood, as it may cause nausea or vomiting. Tilting forward should cause drainage into the wastebasket.

F. Bleeding longer than 15 minutes is very unusual, but if it does occur (or at any other time, bleeding becomes severe) you may replace the sponges with fresh ones. They are inserted quickly into the nasal cavity, straight in (parallel to the floor, not directed upwards towards the eye.) Contact our office for further instructions.

Nasal Cleaning

Nasal cleaning should be started 24 hours after the sponges have been removed, and performed twice a day for the first month and then once a day for an additional month. Direct hydrogen peroxide-soaked Q-tips back into the nose, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Polysporin or Bacitracin ointment can then be gently placed in the nose. Repeat for the opposite side. This prevents drying and promotes healing.

You will occasionally get large crusts of dried blood loose and/or dislodged when cleaning. This may look disturbing at first, but is perfectly normal. If you notice an odor in your nose, clean it 3 to 4 times per day. If the odor persists, contact our office to be seen during normal hours.


We will give you a metal nasal splint, which must be worn when you wear glasses for 3 months after surgery. This prevents distortion of your new nose from the glasses’ pressure. You may start wearing contacts 2 days following surgery if swelling around the eyes will allow.

Things to Avoid After Nasal Surgery

1) Do not blow your nose for 10 days, and avoid sneezing if at all possible. If you must sneeze, do so through your open mouth.

2) Do not wear contacts lens for at least two days after surgery, as initial swelling will make them hard to fit and remove.

3) Avoid strenuous exercise for 4 weeks, and contact sports for 3 months.

4) Some patients must avoid intense sun exposure for one year after surgery – this includes sun beds. If you must be in the sun, use sunblock and/or a hat or visor. Exposure to the sun may cause swelling in a minority of patients, so we recommend that all avoid it if possible while healing.

5) Avoid eyeglasses/sunglasses unless you have your splint on for 3 months.

Learn more about nasal surgery procedures here.