I’ve written about sinus drainage surgery a few times in the past. As I mentioned then, sinus surgery recovery depends on the type of surgery involved, any complications that arise, as well as a patient’s age and overall health. When considering sinus drainage surgery, it’s best to discuss potential complications, risks, and likely recovery time with your doctor. Here are a few details worth asking about:
Sinus Surgery Recovery – Timeframe
The timeframe for sinus surgery recovery depends heavily on a variety of different factors including:
- Type of Surgery – There are a variety of different kinds of sinus drainage surgery. Minor surgeries like a balloon procedure typically have a short recovery time of a few days to a few weeks, while more comprehensive surgeries like a Caldwell Luc Operation may take much longer.
- Complications – Any unexpected complications that arise from a sinus surgery will likely impact sinus surgery recovery time. See below for a list of common risks and complications.
- Patient Age & Health – As with any medical procedure, the age and overall health of the patient will drastically impact recovery time. Young adult patients with good health and habits will recover faster than older patients whose health may be in decline. Non-smokers will recovery more quickly than smokers. Heavy use of alcohol, drugs, or other unhealthy habits also impact recovery time. These habits can also increase the likelihood of complications.
Most sinus surgeries have very high success rates. However, all surgeries carry risks. The following are potential complications that can impact your sinus surgery recovery:
- Bleeding and Swelling – Bleeding and swelling are normal complications that happen as a result of every sinus surgery. Your doctor may prescribe medication to minimize bleeding and reduce swelling. Your doctor may also prohibit you from taking some medications that are known to increase bleeding. In most cases bleeding will stop within 24-48 hours. Swelling will reduce within a few days. However in some cases, bleeding or swelling may continue. When this happens your doctor may need to intervene to stop the bleeding.
- Reduced Sense of Smell – Some sinus surgeries carry of risk of reducing your sense of smell. Damage to the nerves which convey smell may occur. This risk is typically very low.
- Impaired Vision – The sinuses are located near the optic nerve. The potential to damage the optic nerve is usually low, but is present in some sinus drainage surgeries, particularly those involving the sphenoid sinuses.
How to Speed Up Your Sinus Surgery Recovery
If you’re scheduled for surgery, having a plan can greatly improve your sinus surgery recovery time. Plan to do the following:
- Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions – Prior to surgery, your doctor should give you a list of recovery instructions. Follow these as closely as possible. If anything on the list below contradicts what your doctor’s list says, follow the instructions of your doctor.
- Get Plenty of Rest – Plan to take at least a few days off following your surgery. Make sure to get plenty of rest. Sleep allows your body to recover more quickly by conserving energy. Avoid strenuous activity while you’re recovering. If you exercise regularly, stop doing so during the recovery period. Ask your doctor when it’s okay to resume strenuous activity.
- Stay Hydrated – Staying hydrated is vital to your body’s recovery. Drink plenty of water or other “clear” liquids.
- Plan to Eat Soft Foods – The sinuses are located close to the mouth. It may be difficult to eat solid foods after a sinus surgery. Plan accordingly by stocking up on soft foods like jello and ice cream.
- Take Your Prescribed Medicine – Your doctor will likely prescribe you an antibiotic to take after surgery. Be sure to take it regularly to reduce the risk of infection.
- Do Sinus Rinses If Prescribed – If your doctor prescribes them, do sinus rinses. Make sure to ask your doctor whether this is appropriate.