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Post-Operative Instructions:
Sinus Precautions

Post-Operative Instructions: Sinus Precautions


  • Do not spit. Use a tissue to wipe your mouth, or swallow your saliva.
  • Do not use a drinking straw. Drink straight from the cup.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Keep your fingers and tongue away from the surgical area.


  • No nose blowing.
  • If you have to cough or sneeze, make sure your mouth is open.
  • No drinking from a straw.
  • If you have sleep apnea, your surgeon will discuss your use of a CPAP.
  • Smoking will be detrimental to your healing and increases your risk for infection and need for more surgery.


Some minor bleeding is expected after surgical treatment. It will usually subside quickly and stop within an hour or two after surgery. A little oozing is normal and may persist for several hours. It is not unusual for there to be a little trickle of blood from your nose on the same side as the sinus surgery in the first couple of days after surgery. This can be prevented by keeping your head above the level of your heart.

  • Keep gauze on the surgical area with some (biting) pressure for 30–45 minutes.
  • Remove the gauze after 30–45 minutes and replace it with a new piece of gauze if you are still bleeding. It is important to make sure the gauze is directly on the surgical site. Firm pressure for another hour should stop the bleeding.
  • If you find that this is not working after your third attempt, use a moistened tea bag instead of the gauze. The tannic acid in tea will help form a clot and stop the bleeding.
  • If all else fails, call the office.


  • Most patients will experience some swelling after surgery in the mouth. It may be mild or severe and is different for every patient. The swelling may increase for the first 24–48 hours before it starts to go away. It may last for several days. Some bruising may also develop on the face.
  • Use an ice pack on the cheek or face next to the surgical site. Keep it on for 15–20 minutes, then off for 10 minutes, and repeat until you go to sleep. Start again the next day.
  • Sleep with your head elevated slightly (above the heart). This will keep swelling down.
  • On the third day, change to moist heat instead of ice packs. This will bring the swelling down quicker.


You were probably given one or more prescriptions for medications. Take all medications as directed on the bottle. Call us if you experience severe nausea or diarrhea, or cannot swallow your pills.

  • Antibiotics: Continue until the bottle is empty. Do not quit halfway.
  • Pain Medicine: Usually it is necessary to take narcotic pain medication in a scheduled fashion (every 4–6 hours) for the first 24 hours and as needed thereafter. Remember that narcotics can make you drowsy, so no driving, swimming, operating machinery, or drinking alcoholic beverages while you are taking them.

Over-the-Counter Medications:

  • Decongestants – to promote sinus drainage. Use these only if your surgeon recommends them.
  • Nasal sprays – to promote drainage. Saline nasal sprays can be purchased at the pharmacy (for example, Ocean® Nasal Spray). Two puffs in each nostril 6 times per day plus as needed to promote drainage.
  • Antihistamines – to avoid sneezing. Ask your surgeon prior to using antihistamines.

If you have a question about your procedure or treatment plan, our center has 24-hour surgeon availability. If you would like to speak to your surgeon, please contact us at any time.

During business hours, please call our office. After hours, please call our office, and our answering service will page a surgeon. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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