What can I expect after septoplasty?

Since the operation is done through the nostrils, patients do not have to worry about facial scars or black eyes. However, they can experience pain or tenderness on the front of the nose, stuffiness due to swelling and nasal drainage of blood and-or mucous. Swelling from surgery may last two to three days, and drainage might continue for two to five days. Usually, over-the-counter medications will suffice for pain, although the doctor may prescribe a pain reliever. The doctor might have the patient use saline sprays or irrigation treatments to clear nasal congestion. However, if packing is in the nose, the patient will have to breathe through the mouth until the material is removed. It may take up to three months for the nose to achieve maximum clearness.

How do I care for myself after septoplasty?

Rest the first day. Do not rub or even touch the nose. Do not blow the nose, even though it feels congested, because it might cause bleeding. If sneezing is unavoidable, sneeze through the mouth. You can apply an ice pack, covered with a clean cloth or towel, to the nose and eye area to reduce pain and swelling. At night, sleep with the head propped up on two pillows to diminish swelling and congestion. Do not take a shower or bath for the first 24 hours after surgery. Return to the doctor as scheduled because if stitches inside the nose do not dissolve on their own, the doctor may remove them. Avoid people for a while to prevent catching a cold, which can lead to an infection. Stay away from dusty or smoky places. Return to work or school after a week or two, but no heavy lifting right away. For a week or two after surgery, cut back on activities that might cause a fall. These include bending over and playing sports. In fact, you might be asked to avoid sports for up to a month. Try not to put pressure on the face by, for example, straining during bowel movements.

Additional information for self care after septoplasty can be found here:

Septoplasty - At Home Instructions

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