Ear Center: Postoperative Instructions for Nasal/Sinus Surgery or Open/Closed Reduction of Nasal Fractures (Repair of a broken nose)

Postoperative Instructions for Nasal/Sinus Surgery or Nasal Fracture Repair

Click here to download these instructions as a pdf and print.

Activity: Restrict your activity at home for the first two days. Please rest as much as possible. Light activity is best. You may usually return to work or school within one to two days. You should refrain from nose blowing, strenuous activity, or heavy lifting greater than 20 pounds for a total of three weeks after your operation. If sneezing cannot be avoided, sneeze with your mouth open to decrease the pressure on your nose. Avoid activities that could lead to nasal trauma for at least six weeks.

Discomfort: You may experience a dull headache and pressure along with nasal congestion and discharge. These symptoms may be worse during the first week after your operation but may last for as long as two to four weeks. Please take either Tylenol® or the pain medication that has been prescribed for you. Do not take aspirin, aspirin-containing medications, or ibuprofen (Motrin®, Aleve®, etc.) because they may cause bleeding. You may experience symptoms of post-nasal drainage, nasal congestion, headaches, and fatigue for two to three months after your operation. You may have swelling of your eyelids for up to five to seven days and some discoloration may persist for a longer period of time but should resolve.

Bleeding: You may experience some blood tinged nasal discharge for approximately two weeks after the operation. The discharge will be worse for the first week. Please call our office at (336) 273-9932 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room if you experience any of the following:

  • Heavy, bright red bleeding from your nose or mouth that lasts longer than 10 minutes.
  • Coughing up or vomiting bright red blood or blood clots.

It is not uncommon to have some blood-tinged discharge for the first week. Please change your nasal dripper pad as often as needed.


  1. A gauze dressing will be placed on your upper lip, beneath your nose, to absorb any nasal drainage after your operation. You may need to change the gauze pad several times a day. If you do not have very much drainage, you may remove the dressing. Remember that you may gently wipe your nose with a tissue and sniff in but do not blow your nose. Do not disturb any external nasal splints or casts that have been applied by your doctor.
  2. Please keep all of your postoperative appointments. Your final result after your operation will depend on proper follow-up. The initial visit is usually seven days after your operation. During this visit, any remaining nasal packing and internal nasal splints will be removed, and your nasal cavities will be cleaned. During the second visit, you nasal cavities will be cleaned again. Please make arrangements  to have someone drive you to your first two postoperative appointments. We suggest that you take your prescription pain medication about 1 hour prior to each of these two appointments.
  3. How you care for your nose after the operation will influence the results that you obtain. You should follow all directions, take your medication as prescribed, and call our office at (336) 273-9932 with any problems or questions.
  4. If a cast or stent has been applied to your nose, the following precautions should be taken:
    1. Keep the cast or stent dry.
    2. If a gauze dressing is worn, do not tape it to the cast or stent.
    3. Do not remove or add tape to the cast or stent. Do not replace the stent or cast if it inadvertently comes off. Please call the office at 336-273-9932 if this should occur.
    4. Do no scratch or touch under the cast or stent or place any objects or probes under the stent.
  5. Cleanse the outside of your nose gently with soap and water after the cast/stent is removed.
  6. You may be more comfortable sleeping with your head elevated on two pillows (elevated 30 degrees) or in a recliner for a few days.
  7. Do not take any medications that your doctor has not prescribed or recommended.

WARNING SIGNS: If any of the following should occur, please call our office:

  1. Bright red bleeding which lasts more than 10 minutes.
  2. Persistent fever greater than 102oF.
  3. Persistent vomiting.
  4. Severe and constant pain that is not relieved by prescribed pain medication.
  5. Trauma to the nose.
  6. If your cast becomes displaced or falls off prior to the time of your next office visit.
  7. Any rash or unusual side effects from any medications.

It is important to keep your postoperative follow-up visit.  If a postoperative appointment has not been scheduled, please call our office at 336-273-9932 to make an appointment.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please call our office at (336) 273-9932.

Click here to download these instructions as a pdf and print.

Last revised November 28, 2011