Nasal Surgery

Nasal surgery includes septoplasty, turbinoplasty, sinus surgery and polypectomy. These procedures are often performed to treat difficulty breathing through the nose. A nasal airway obstruction may cause mouth breathing, sleep apnea, snoring, recurrent sinus infections, or frequent nosebleeds. Septoplasty is a corrective surgical procedure done to repair a blockage inside the nose caused by a deviated septum. To do this, incisions are made inside the nose. Then cartilage and sometimes bone from the septum are trimmed, reshaped, moved or removed. Turbinate surgery repairs a blockage caused by enlarged turbinates. During surgery, bone or mucous membrane may be removed from enlarged turbinates. The goal of these surgeries is to have more breathing space. Sinus surgery is performed for recurrent sinus infections, as the sinuses become blocked and mucus can't drain. The sinuses can become blocked by colds and other infections, allergies, polyps, and a deviated septum. A thorough evaluation will be performed including: a medical history, physical exam, endoscopic exam and CT scan prior to surgery.


As with any surgical procedure, there are risks that need to be discussed in addition to the benefits of surgery. Problems may include: infection, excessive bleeding, bruising, altered sense of taste or smell, spinal fluid leakage (very rare) and/or vision loss (very rare). Risks for any anesthesia are: reactions to medicines and breathing problems.

Before the Procedure

  1. Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure. You may brush your teeth. You may not be able to undergo the surgery if you do not follow these instructions.
  2. Tell your doctor about any medications, supplements, or herbal remedies you take. Ask if you should stop taking them before surgery.
  3. A week before the surgery, please avoid aspirin, aspirin-containing products, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Aleve) or Vitamin E. Please notify our office if you are on any medications that affect bleeding, such as coumadin or warfarin. Please call our office if you have any concerns about any medications. (585-342-2080)
  4. Make arrangements for an adult family member or friend to drive you home on the day of surgery. The sedative medication and/or general anesthesia may make you drowsy for as long as 24 hours. Do not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours. Do not drink alcoholic beverages for 24 hours, and do not make any major decisions, sign contracts, etc. for 24 hours.

After the Procedure

Activity: Avoid strenuous activity. No bending, lifting, or straining. Sleep with the head of the bed elevated or use two to three pillows. Sneeze with your mouth open and do not blow your nose for seven days.

Diet: Advance diet from liquids to soft foods to solids as tolerated. Drink as many fluids as you can to prevent dehydration. It is not uncommon to have numbness on the roof of the mouth (palate) behind the front teeth. Avoid extremely hot liquids or food in the immediate postoperative period for this reason.

Nasal Discharge: It usually occurs for two weeks following surgery. It may be bloody at first, changing to mucus. You will have a gauze drip pad placed beneath your nose. Change this gauze as needed. Any bright-red bleeding which persists should be reported. Following the removal of the packing, the drainage will subside and the drip pads will no longer be needed.

Nasal Congestion: A stuffy nose is normal, due to the swelling of the tissues. A humidifier/vaporizer may help. Nasal saline drops or sprays can be used after the first day, and can be used four or more times a day. Packing will be placed by the surgeon on the day of surgery, and will add to the general stuffiness. The packing will be removed within the first five days following surgery.

Pain: Mild to moderate pain may be expected. Pain medication may be prescribed, or you may use Tylenol (or similar medications). Take medications as directed.

Take the antibiotic or other medication as directed to reduce inflammation and promote healing. It is not uncommon to have a low-grade fever following surgery.

An over-the-counter decongestant may be used as needed for congestion beginning the day after surgery. An over-the-counter nasal decongestant spray can also be used.

Follow-Up Appointment: Our office will schedule a post-operative visit for you with Dr. Oliver. We will contact you with your appointment date and time.

Additional Instructions: Nasal congestion, facial fullness, headache, and disrupted sleep are very normal postoperative symptoms and will decrease as the healing process occurs.

Please call our office at 585-342-2080 for any of the following:

  1. A large amount of bright red bleeding.
  2. Difficulty breathing or painful swallowing.
  3. Fever over 101° F (38.3° C).
  4. Changes in vision, or swelling around the eye.
  5. Signs of infection, such as yellow or greenish drainage.
  6. A constant headache or increasing pain.
  7. Drainage of a large amount of clear fluid.
  8. Extreme tiredness, or a stiff neck.
  9. Pain not managed by pain medication.