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How Long does Sinus Surgery Recovery Take?

By Molly Smith
Updated May 17, 2024
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Sinus surgery recovery times vary by patient and by type of procedure. The general rule is that patients will need seven to 10 days of rest before returning to work or school. There are guidelines for patients to follow for a few weeks after the sinus surgery until they are completely healed.

It is common in the first week after sinus surgery for a patient to feel extreme fatigue because of the complications of breathing normally. It is important for the patient to rest and sleep as often as necessary. For the first few days to a week following sinus surgery, the patient should use extra pillows to elevate the head while sleeping or resting. This will help decrease bleeding and swelling.

Nasal saline spray can be used every two to three hours during sinus surgery recovery to make the nose feel more comfortable. Sinus irrigations are critical to sinus surgery recovery, and the patient will begin using them twice a day starting the day after surgery. The irrigation is soothing and aids in the removal of debris left behind in the sinuses after the surgery.

One should not take aspirin for pain, because it will increase the likelihood of bleeding and decrease blood clotting as he or she heals. The patient also should avoid activities such as blowing his or her nose, strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for at least 10 days after sinus surgery, because doing so increases the risk of bleeding in the nose. If one is in doubt, he or she can ask a doctor when it will be permissible to resume these activities.

Driving is not recommended for at least 24 hours after a minor surgery and two to three days after a more extensive sinus surgery. One other thing that must be considered before driving is how the patient's pain medication affects him or her. If the medication makes the patient drowsy, driving probably should be avoided.

If the guidelines for sinus surgery recovery are followed, the patient should get back to most of his or her normal activities in about a week to 10 days. Complications can arise during sinus surgery recovery that might require a visit to a doctor. These include a fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius), sudden visual changes, swelling of the eyes, severe headache, stiffness in the neck or diarrhea.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Ocelot60 — On May 01, 2014

@spotiche5- Though you should ask your doctor to be sure, I do not think that it is safe to use decongestant nasal sprays following sinus surgery. These sprays affect blood vessels in the nasal passages, and may cause complications during the healing process.

In addition to not being safe after surgery, nasal decongestant sprays can become addictive because they make it so easy to breath. This sensation creates a vicious cycle of continuing to use the sprays repeatedly to open up nasal passages as the stuffy feeling returns in between each use.

Your best bet following sinus surgery is to do what your doctor orders, and stick to saline sprays that safely flush out and moisturize your nasal passages.

By Spotiche5 — On Apr 30, 2014

Does anyone know if decongestant nasal sprays can be used after sinus surgery? I have had this procedure in the past, and had a hard time dealing with feeling as if I couldn't breath. I have to have another sinus surgery procedure, and am preparing ahead of time for the after effects.

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