Many studies have demonstrated that the vast majority of patients who undergo endoscopic sinus surgery are ultimately very satisfied with their results. As with all surgeries there is a convalescent period after this procedure, although it is usually much milder now than in years past with the advent of endoscopes, minimally invasive procedures and smaller or absorbable packs. This recovery period can vary greatly depending on the extent of surgery, the use of nasal packing and the individual patient.
Patients will often experience blood-tinged discharge during the first day or two after surgery. This is normal, and by keeping the head elevated above the heart (a recliner works very well) this symptom will be minimized. Discomfort is generally well managed with pain medications prescribed by your surgeon. All patients will experience some degree of congestion or nasal obstruction, and this will be significantly improved once any nasal packing or splints are removed. In addition, patients may notice postnasal drainage, headaches, and fatigue that is most noticeable the first few days after the surgery and gradually resolves completely over the ensuing weeks. Many of these symptoms will mimic those of a sinus infection until this healing process is complete.
Patients should avoid strenuous activities and medications that predispose to bleeding (aspirin, ibuprofen, certain herbal remedies) for at least two weeks after surgery or until the healing process is complete. Time off work varies from several days to even weeks depending on the patient’s occupation and the extent of surgery, and this should be discussed with your physician.
The postoperative care may be as important as the surgery itself. Sinus surgeons usually schedule frequent postoperative visits to clean the sinus cavities and ensure that they are patent, healing well and are without scarring. In addition, the surgeon will often have patients on a regimen to clean the sinus cavities at home although this varies greatly from physician to physician. For most patients, following the routine set forth by the sinus surgeon leads to excellent long-term results and patient satisfaction!