Septoplasty: At Home Instructions
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 after 7 days and when your child feels up to it. Strenuous physical activity is discouraged for 1 month. This includes gym class, swimming, recess, and contact sports. Your child may return to school when comfortable and no longer taking prescription pain medication.
- Encourage your child to avoid nose blowing and to sneeze with his/her mouth open for 5 to 7 days.
- Bathing: If your child’s nostrils were packed with splints, avoid getting them wet in the shower (it is ok to rinse them with saline) until they are removed in approximately 1 week. If splints were not used, your child may bathe the day after surgery.
- Unrestricted. Resume normal diet as tolerated.
- 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.
- 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 persists (more than 2 days) or is greater than 102 degrees, call our office.
- Antibiotics may be given post-op. If your child is given a prescription for oral antibiotics, please start it the day after surgery.
Care after Surgery
- Drainage: Bloody drainage is expected after nasal surgery. We typically 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. Use the syringe and saline solution we provided and rinse the nostrils at least 3 times a day. If not provided nasal saline can be obtained at your drug store. Please see the instructions, "How to Rinse the Inside of Your Nose," below. You may also 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.
- Your child should avoid hard nose blowing for 1 week after surgery.
- Please use nasal saline spray to each nostril at least three times a day. Saline spray can be purchased over-the-counter.
- Your physician may instruct your child to use antibiotic ointment and/or CCF nasal ointment after surgery in your child’s nose. Please follow your physician’s instructions if this is recommended.
- Please call the office to schedule an appointment so that your child can be seen approximately 1 week after surgery.
How to Irrigate
- Fill the syringe with the nasal irrigation solution. Make sure to remove all the air out of the syringe.Insert the tip of the syringe inside the nose. Slightly tilt the tip of the syringe toward the inside corner of your eye (within the nostril on the same side you are irrigating.) Push down on the plunger with moderate force as you lean over the sink. Irrigate in this manner 3 to 4 times per da
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 basin 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 continuously for at least 10 minutes (timed by clock) before “peeking” to see if the bleeding has stopped. Every time you stop to “peek” you have to restart the clock!! If your nose is still bleeding, continue squeezing the 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. Afrin® is to be used for no more than 2-3 days.
- Seek medical care through a nearby emergency room or by calling 911 if you cannot stop the bleeding after more than 20 minutes of applying direct pressure.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy