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How Long Does Sinus Surgery Recovery Take?

A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used in surgeries to make incisions.
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  • Written By: Molly Smith
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2014
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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.

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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.

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