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Nasal surgery

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 to 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 will have been discussed with you by your Doctor.

Expected length of hospital stay

Your length of stay is dependent on your recovery and us usually at the discretion of your Doctor or treating team. Discharge is usually the morning following your surgery.

After your operation

  • You will be resting in bed with your head elevated – it is important that you don’t lie flat. Your nursing staff will discuss this with you.
  • After your surgery you will go to the recovery room where you will be observed until you are more awake. 
  • It is common to need oxygen which is given via an oxygen mask. 
  • When you have recovered from the anaesthetic you will return to your allocated bed in the postoperative ward. The nurses will check your pulse, respiration (breathing) rate, temperature, blood pressure, pain score and check your wound regularly. 
  • Your doctor will order pain relief and anti-nausea medications for you. Please tell your nurse if you have any pain or nausea, so these symptoms can be managed. 
  • Following your operation you will be offered ice to suck or water to sip. After a few hours you can begin to drink fluids as you are able. Intravenous fluids (a drip) will sometimes be administered until you are able to eat and drink.
  • You may have some packs in your nose (which may cause pressure) and a bolster (usually gauze) 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.
  • Early mobilisation is encouraged to help reduce the risk of blood clots. You may find it hard straight away but you will be encouraged to start walking around as soon as you are able to do so. 
  • Your nurses will check your vital signs and wound often for several hours after the surgery. These checks become less often but remain regular until you leave hospital.​

In preparation of going home

  • Your nurse will discuss your follow-up appointment and any discharge arrangements that have been made with you.
  • 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 too hot as this may overheat the body and cause faintness and bleeding. Also be mindful to keep your head elevated (not bending over).
  • You may have soft food and fluids as desired; ensure they are not too hot as this can increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Your observations will be checked before you are discharged.
  • If you had nasal packs inserted during your operation— you may have them removed prior to discharge or discharge home with them. 
  • A clean bolster will be applied to absorb any nasal ooze. This nasal ooze can continue for seven to ten days. You will be given supplies to continue changing your bolster at home if required.

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.
  • The medications you should take at home will be discussed with you prior to discharge.

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.
  • 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 medical 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 with your head elevated. If the bleeding persists beyond 10 minutes contact your doctor or return to your nearest Emergency Department.


Please contact either your General Practitioner (GP) or the hospital in which you had your surgery, 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 acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-420028
Last modified 23/7/2020.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 28/5/2020
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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