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Nasal surgery: (septoplasty/ rhinoplasty/ septo-rhinoplasty)


At Mater Health Services we understand that being in hospital can be a very stressful experience. This booklet aims to alleviate some of your concerns in keeping with our Mission to offer compassionate, quality care that promotes dignity while responding to patients’ needs. It explains briefly the events that may occur during your visit and the things to expect when you are discharged from the hospital.

It is, however, only a guideline as each person may require differing treatments.

If you have any questions about your treatment please ask your doctor or nurse. Our pastoral care team offers a caring support network to all patients. The dedicated members of this team will visit you during your stay and are available at your request to discuss any anxieties or problems that you may have.

Some of the common nasal operations are as follows

  • Manipulation of nasal fracture is the correction of your fractured or broken nose.
  • Sub–mucous resection (SMR) is the removal of cartilage from the nasal septum to relieve your blocked nose.
  • Sub-mucous diathermy (SMD) is the reduction of bony ridges (turbinates) at the back of the nose using diathermy to relieve your blocked nose.
  • Trimming of inferior turbinates is a more traditional approach to reducing enlarged turbinates causing your blocked nose.
  • Septoplasty—rhinoplasty is the removal of cartilage from the nasal septum to relieve your blocked nose.
  • Rhinoplasty is changes made on the nasal cartilages and bones with the aim to improve the visual appearance of the nose.
  • Nasal polypectomy (B.I.N.A / B.I.N.E) is the removal of nasal polyps relieving symptoms of your blocked nose and post-nasal drip.
  • Function endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is carried out using an endoscope. Nasal polyps can also be removed by this method.

The type of nasal surgery you will be having has been decided by your doctor.

Expected length of hospital stay

The day following your surgery you will be transferred anytime from 7 am to the Transit Lounge then discharged at the pre-arranged time.

After your operation

  • You will stay in the recovery room within the theatre suite after the operation while you waken from the anaesthetic. You will be transferred on your bed to your room in the Day Procedure Unit.
  • Your nurse will take frequent observations of your vital signs (e.g. pulse) and dressings for several hours after the surgery. These will become less frequent as you recover but remain regular until you leave hospital.
  • You may have some packs in your nose (which may cause pressure) and a bolster on the outside to absorb any ooze. Your nurse will change the bolster as required. The nasal packs are usually removed the morning after your operation.
  • You will be resting in bed with your head elevated, immediately after your surgery.


The following exercises help prevent complications suchas chest infections and blood clots in your legs. You should do these every hour that you are awake while resting in bed.

Breathing exercises: take five long and slow deep breaths. Each breath should be deeper than the previous breath. Think about getting the air to the very bottom of your lungs.

Circulation exercises: firmly move your ankles up and down to stretch and contract your calf muscles.

  • When you are ready to get out of bed for the first time following your surgery it is important that you have assistance.
  • About four hours after you return to the ward, your nurse will assist you to have a wash.
  • You may have small amounts of water or ice to suck, then progress from fluids to a normal diet as tolerated.
  • If you have pain or nausea, please tell your nurse as there are medications which can be given to relieve this. It is important to be comfortable.
  • The drip (IV) is necessary to maintain your fluid intake. This will be removed when you are tolerating adequate amounts of oral fluids.

In preparation of going home

  • Your nurse will discuss your follow-up appointment and any discharge arrangements that have been made with you.
  • Discharge information will be given to you and your nurse will discuss this with you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
  • A full assessment will be made prior to transferring you to the Transit Lounge in preparation for discharge to ascertain your condition is safe for you to go home.
  • You will be transferred to the Transit Lounge anytime from 7am, the morning following your surgery. This is where you will wait for your transportation home. Those picking you up will find the Transit Lounge:
    • on level 4 Mater Hospital Brisbane
    • just inside the ambulance entrance
    • opposite the waiting area for the Emergency Department.
  • It is still recommended to perform deep breathing, coughing and leg exercises while you are resting in bed.
  • You will recommence your normal medications.
  • Please tell the nursing staff if you have any pain so that they may give you medication to help relieve it.
  • You are encouraged to be independent with your showering and walking. Your shower should not be hot as this will overheat the body and cause faintness and bleeding.
  • You may have food and fluids as desired.
  • Your observations (temperature, pulse) will be checked before you are discharged.
  • If you had nasal packs inserted during your operation—you will be given a pain relief injection early this morning prior to removal of these packs. A clean bolster will be applied to absorb any nasal ooze. This nasal ooze can continue for seven to ten days.

Discharge advice following nasal surgery

What to expect

  • Continue to wear a nasal bolster or have a supply of tissues to use until the nasal ooze ceases.
  • Your nose will be a little uncomfortable for three to four days post-operatively. You may experience a sinus headache, or in the case of rhinoplasty—pain at the operative site. It will be blocked for a few weeks following your surgery.
  • Your pain should be controlled by simple analgesia such as Paracetamol—do not take any more than eight tablets within a 24 hour period.

What to avoid

  • Do not sniff or blow your nose for one week post-operatively or as advised by your surgeon.
  • If you sneeze, do so with your mouth open.
  • Do not take Aspirin or anything containing Aspirin. NO alcohol is to be consumed for two weeks after surgery.
  • Avoid hot baths, showers or saunas, physical exertion or any activity which will overheat the body.
  • Avoid contact sports until advised by your surgeon.
  • Avoid bumping your nose.
  • Avoid bending, lifting or straining for a minimum of 14 days and until you are advised by your surgeon.
  • Avoid smoking and smoky atmospheres and other fumes which may irritate the nose.
  • Avoid the sun if you have had a rhinoplasty.
  • You will be advised when you may return to work or school. If you need a sick certificate, please ask for one before leaving hospital. It is anticipated that you will require two weeks off work or school (this time off is not required after a fractured nose).

What to do if you experience a nose bleed

Place an ice pack on your forehead and one behind your neck and rest. If the bleeding persists beyond 10 minutes contact your doctor or return to the MHB Emergency Department.


Please contact either your General Practitioner (GP); the Mater Hospital Brisbane Procedure Unit on 07 3163 8324​; or the Mater Hospital Brisbane Emergency Department on telephone 07 3163 8111, IMMEDIATELY if you experience any of the following after discharge:

  • unexpected persistent bleeding, following treatment as above
  • you develop a temperature
  • there is dramatic increase in pain or swelling
  • any other concerns.

Mater Hospital Brisbane

Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane Q 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111


Staff of Mater Hospital Brisbane, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, Q 4101

© 2010 Mater Meisericordiae Health Services Brisbane Limited. ACN 096 708 922

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-420028
Last modified 17/3/2020.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 11/8/2015
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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