Deviated Septum Surgery and Turbinectomy (Septoplasty, Nasal Airway Surgery, Surgical Instructions)

  • Medical Author:

    Dr. Shah obtained his BA/MD from Boston University and completed his Otolaryngology residency at Tufts University followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Otolaryngology at Children's Hospital Boston at Harvard University. After fellowship, he joined the faculty of Children's National Medical Center in 2006. Dr. Shah is an active clinical researcher and has received numerous awards for his research.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

View 10 Common Allergy Triggers Slideshow Pictures

What happens after deviated septum surgery (septoplasty) or turbinectomy?

After surgery, the patient will be taken to the recovery room where a nurse will monitor the patient. They will be able to go home the same day as the surgery once fully recovered from the anesthetic. This usually takes several hours. The patient will need a friend or family member to pick them up from the surgical facility and take them home. It may be necessary for the family member or friend to spend the first night with the patient after surgery for assistance.

When patients arrive home from the surgical facility, they should go to bed and rest with their head elevated on two to three pillows. By keeping the head elevated above the heart they can minimize fluid accumulation in the tissues (edema) and swelling. They may get out of bed with assistance to use the bathroom. Patients should avoid straining while urinating or passing stool. If constipated they should take a stool softener or a gentle laxative.

Patients may have some swelling of the nose, upper lip, cheeks, or around the eyes for several days after surgery. This swelling will gradually resolve and is normal. They can help reduce the swelling by putting ice on the face, bridge of the nose, and eyes as much as tolerated. This will also help with postoperative edema and pain. Some patients have found frozen vegetable in packages (for example bags of frozen peas) to be a convenient ice pack which is more likely to conform to the face.

Moderate bleeding from the nose is normal, and will gradually decrease. The gauze dressing ("mustache dressing") will collect blood and should be changed only when saturated. It is not unusual to change these dressings every hour during the first 24 hours after surgery. After a few days, patients will usually no longer need to use the dressing. Patients should not take aspirin, aspirin-containing medications, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen for three weeks following surgery.

Picture of Mustache Dressing
Picture of Mustache Dressing

It is best for patients to eat a light, soft, and cool diet as tolerated once recovered fully from the anesthetic. Hot liquids should be avoided for several days. Even though the individual may be hungry immediately after surgery, it is best to proceed slowly with food intake to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting. Occasionally, the person may vomit one or two times immediately after surgery; if vomiting persists, the doctor can prescribe medication to settle the stomach. It is important to remember that a good overall diet with ample rest promotes healing.

Patients will be prescribed antibiotics after surgery, and should finish all the pills that have been prescribed. Some form of a narcotic may also be prescribed and is to be taken as needed. If patients require narcotics, they are cautioned not to drive. In some situations the doctor may prescribe steroids to reduce inflammation either preoperatively and/or postoperatively. It is very important that patients take this medication as prescribed, and not discontinue it prematurely. If patients have nausea or vomiting postoperatively, they may be prescribed anti-nausea medications (antiemetics). If patients have any questions or they feel they are developing a reaction to any of these medications, they should consult their doctor. Patients should not take any other medication, either prescribed or over-the-counter, unless they have discussed the medications with the doctor.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/8/2014

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Allergy and Asthma Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Deviated Septum Surgery - Complications

    What, if any complications did you experience with deviated septum surgery?

    Post View 8 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors