Nose and Sinus Surgery

Before You Go To Sleep

If you haven’t already met your anaesthetist you will meet them either on the ward or in the anaesthetic bay on the day of your surgery. At this stage if you have any concerns or worries about your operation or anaesthetic please let them know.

Once in the anaesthetic bay you will have an intravenous drip placed and often you will be given a sedative “relaxing medication” just before going into the operating theatre. You often will not remember much after being given the sedative. Once inside the operating theatre you will have several monitors placed (these monitor things like your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing patterns). Once these are placed you will be given an oxygen mask and then receive another injection through the drip. This injection will put you “to sleep”.The next thing you will remember is waking up either in the recovery room or in the operating theatre.

The Operation

During the operation your anaesthetist will remain with you monitoring your operation, anaesthetic and all your vital physiological functions. They stay with you until you reach the recovery room where your care will continued by the recovery staff. While you are in recovery if you have any discomfort or feel nauseous or sick it is important that you let the recovery staff know. They can administer pain killers or anti nausea drugs if they are required. The aim is to have you comfortable when you leave recovery for the ward.

Your Stay in Hospital

Depending on the type of operation you may stay overnight or go home. During the surgery most surgeons will infiltrate you nose with long-acting local anaesthetic which generally gives you very good pain relief. You may notice that your nose feels numb and swollen, and in some cases your top lip and some of your top teeth may also be numb from the local anaesthesia. It is normal to have some slight bleeding from the nose for several days, you will often wake up with a special swab to catch this bleeding. You may also notice some slight dribbling of blood down the back of your throat: we generally suggest, whilst not elegant, spitting out anything that runs down the back of your throat. If you have any discomfort or nausea then please let the nursing staff know as you will be written up for medications to help alleviate this.

Whether or not you are going home on the day of surgery or the next day you need someone to pick you up from the hospital and take you home. If you go home on the day of surgery it is also advisable to have someone at home with you that first night after surgery. We also suggest that when you go home you ask the nursing staff to give you a disposable “ vomit bag” just in case the motion of the car makes you feel nauseous.

Your Recovery at Home

Recovery is variable in every patient but most people will take around a week to get back to normal. The majority of patients do not report severe pain, but tend to describe the week as uncomfortable. A lot of this discomfort is due to having a very “stuffy” nose due to post operative swelling. You can expect this discomfort to be greater if your surgeon has had to use internal splints or packing.

It is normal to have a small amount of bleeding from either the front or back of the nose for a few days.

You will often be given a saline nasal rinse or spray to wash your nose out. This will help clean out the dried blood and help reduce the nasal obstruction. Sometimes taking a hot shower (don’t have the water directly going up your nose) with the door shut will allow the steam to help unclog the stuffy feeling in your nose.

Pain Medications

It is not uncommon to need pain killing medication for a couple of days after your operation. Most commonly you will be sent home on a combination of regular paracetamol and a stronger pain killer such as codeine or oxycodone, which you can take on top of the paracetamol when needed. By taking the paracetamol regularly it will decrease the amount of the stronger pain killers that you may need. If you still have significant pain after this then please contact your anaesthetist. Oxycodone and codeine are restricted medications that must be used only for postoperative pain as prescribed specifically for you. Under no circumstances should you give them to friends or family or leave them within the reach of children.