How to Recover From Nasal Polyp Surgery


Nasal polyps are grape-like swellings within the nose or sinuses. Nasal polyps cause nasal obstruction and can also keep mucus and secretions in the sinuses from properly draining into the nose. Polypectomy, surgery to remove polyps from the nose and sinuses, helps to relieve nasal congestion and obstruction. After polyps are removed, the tissue will be tested, to rule out cancer. However, most nasal polyps are not cancerous. Your doctor will have specific instructions for your recovery after surgery.

Things You'll Need

  • Saline solution
  • Bulb syringe, plastic squirt bottle or neti pot

How to Recover from Nasal Polyp Removal

Rest at home after your surgery. Your nose will be packed with gauze to absorb secretions and drainage from blood. You may be instructed to change the packing several times a day, or it may be left in place for a few days until you return to the doctor. Once packing is removed you may be instructed to do saline lavage or irrigation (saltwater nasal washes) to keep your sinuses moist. It also helps to use a humidifier in your home or bedroom.

Expect that the first few days after surgery you will have a bloody nasal discharge mixed with secretions that will drip from your nose if you lean forward. If you have heavy bleeding, call your doctor. He may want to put more packing in your nose or cauterize the blood vessels to stop the bleeding.

Watch for infection and inflammation. Continued pressure, pain or discharge after a few days may indicate an infection. In this case your doctor may want to do a culture of the secretions and prescribe antibiotics. If inflammation and infection persist after you heal, you may need more antibiotics and perhaps another surgery.

Be aware that the sound of your voice is due in part to the structure of your sinuses. If nasal polyp surgery alters the structure of the sinuses you could have a change in your voice.

Call your doctor if you experience any change in your eyesight. In very rare instances double vision develops after swelling or bleeding from the surgery that occurs in the cavity around the eye. Although unlikely, if this does occur, it usually resolves on its own over time. If the muscles around the eye are injured during surgery, double vision can be permanent. In extremely rare instances, vision loss can occur. This would happen if there was an excessive amount of bleeding into the cavity around the eye and the optic nerve was damaged.

Call your doctor immediately, if you have a clear, watery discharge from your nose. Brain issues following nasal polyp surgery are not likely, however in very rare instances leakage of the fluid surrounding the brain can occur.

Attend all of your follow-up doctor appointments. After your recovery your doctor may advise treating inflammation or possible infection in your sinuses with medicines like steroid nasal sprays, oral steroids or antibiotics. This will reduce the chances that your nasal polyps will reappear. Your doctor will also recommend that you continue long-term follow-up visit with him to monitor your progress.

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