The following instructions will help you to know what to expect in the days following surgery. Do not hesitate to call if you have questions or concerns.


  • After surgery, your child should rest at home for several days. Light activities may be resumed when your child feels up to it. Strenuous physical activity is discouraged for 7 to 10 days. This includes gym class, swimming, and recess. Your child may return to school when comfortable and no longer taking prescription pain medication.


  • Begin with a clear, liquid diet. Move on to a light diet and then to a normal diet as your child feels like eating.


  • Most children have mild to moderate pain for a few days after surgery. Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) should be used to relieve any discomfort.

Pain Control

  • Alternate the use of acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) every 3 hours to control your child’s pain. Please follow this medication schedule while your child is awake for the first few days after surgery.
  • Older children may receive a prescription for a stronger pain medication. Please use this medication if acetaminophen and ibuprofen are not controlling your child’s pain.
  • Give pain medication on a regular schedule for the first 2-3 days after surgery.
  • Rectal acetaminophen suppositories and orally disintegrating tablets are options for children refusing pain medication orally. Available over-the-counter.
  • Your physician will instruct you if ibuprofen is not appropriate to use.


  • A low-grade fever (101 degrees or less) following surgery may occur and should be treated with acetaminophen. Follow the directions on the bottle. If the fever lasts more than 2 days or is greater than 102 degrees, call our office.


  • You may be given a prescription for antibiotics. If so, please follow instructions as provided.


  • Your child may be given a prescription for oral steroids. If so, please have your child begin taking them on the day after surgery.
  • While taking steroids, your child may experience side effects such as:
    • Mood swings, nervousness or restlessness, fatigue, increased appetite, upset stomach, or trouble falling asleep.
  • Please call our office if your child is experiencing decreased or blurred vision, frequent urination, increased thirst, hip/groin pain, severe mood swings, or thoughts of self harm.

Care after Surgery

  • Drainage: Bloody drainage is expected after nasal surgery. We often put a gauze (“mustache”) dressing under the child’s nose and tape it to the cheeks for as long as the drainage continues, typically up to 48 hours. If the dressing needs to be changed every hour or if there is a large amount of bleeding, call your physician. Please see the instructions, "How to Stop a Nose Bleed," in this document.
  • Packing: Your child may have packing or soft nasal splints inside his/her nose. Typically packing dissolves on its own; however, if packing needs to be removed, strings may be taped to the cheek. The packing or splints will be removed at the first post-operative appointment. (If the packing falls out when sneezing, it does not need to be replaced.
  • Rinsing the inside of the nose: After nasal surgery in children, we recommend rinsing the inside of their nose with saline. Please see the instructions, "How to Rinse the Inside of Your Nose," below. You may use Sinurinse® or other saline irrigation products which can be found at your drug store. Rinse the nostril 3 to 4 times per day.
  • Cleaning: Some bloody crusts can build up around the nasal openings. Gently clean this with a Q-tip soaked in half-strength peroxide (mix equal amounts of peroxide and water). Do not insert the Q-tip into the nostril any deeper than the end of the cotton portion of the Q-tip.
  • Bathing: If your child’s nostrils were packed with splints, avoid getting them wet in the shower or bath (it is ok to rinse them with saline) until they are removed in approximately 1 week. Your child may bathe the day after surgery.
  • Your child should avoid hard nose blowing for 1 week after surgery.

Please call immediately if your child:

  • Develops eye swelling or changes in his/her vision
  • Experiences a change in his/her mental status
  • Complains of nasal discharge that tastes salty. Normal nasal discharge is expected.


  • Please call the office to schedule an appointment so that your child can be seen approximately 1 week after surgery.

How to Rinse the Inside of your Nose

  • Fill a syringe with the nasal irrigation solution. After filling a syringe, gently squeeze all the air out of the syringe (with the syringe pointing down). Insert the tip of the syringe inside the nostril to be rinsed. Slightly tilt the tip of the syringe toward the inside corner of your eye. While leaning over the sink, push down on the syringe plunger with moderate degree of force.

Follow these Steps to Stop a Nosebleed

  • Stay calm
  • Sit down and lean your body and your head slightly forward. This will keep the blood from running down your throat, which can cause nausea, vomiting, choking, and diarrhea. (Do NOT lay flat or put your head between your legs.)
  • Breathe through your mouth
  • Use a tub/bowl or damp washcloth to catch the blood. Use your thumb and index finger to pinch together the soft part of your nose. Make sure to pinch together the soft part of the nose. Squeezing at or above the bony part of the nose will not put pressure where it can help stop bleeding.
  • Keep pinching your nose without letting go for at least 10 minutes (timed by clock). Do not “peek” to see if the bleeding has stopped. Every time you stop to “peek,”-- and the bleeding has not stopped -- you have to ”restart the clock” and pinch your nose for another 10 minutes!! If your nostril is still bleeding, continue squeezing your nose for another 15 minutes.
  • You can spray an over-the-counter decongestant spray, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin®, Neo-Synephrine®) into the bleeding side of the nose and then apply pressure to the nose as described above. Do not use Afrin® for more than 2 to 3 days.
  • Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you cannot stop the bleeding after more than 20 minutes of applying direct pressure.

Recommended Dosage Acetaminophen

Recommended Dosage Ibuprofen

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/14/2018.

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