Skip to main content

Fess (Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 6, 2023.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) removes tissue that blocks your sinus openings. This helps improve airflow and restores normal sinus function. You may have some pain, swelling, bruising, or bleeding after surgery. These are normal and should get better within a few days. Follow your surgeon's activity and surgery area care instructions.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have clear fluid coming from your nose.
  • You have trouble breathing, seeing, talking, or thinking clearly.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a stiff neck or eye pain, especially when you look directly at light.
  • You have a severe headache that does not go away even after you take pain medicine.
  • Your face is getting numb.
  • You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your nose.
  • Blood soaks through your nasal packing.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have bruises or swelling around your nose or eyes.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Antibiotics help prevent an infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Nasal packing:

Ask your surgeon how long the nasal packing will stay inside your nose. If it needs to be removed and replaced at home, ask how to do this.


  • Your surgeon will tell you when you can return to your normal daily activities. Do not travel by airplane or go SCUBA diving for 4 weeks. Do not exercise, do strenuous activity, or go swimming for 2 weeks, or as directed. Your surgeon may also tell you not to bend over, lift anything heavier than 10 pounds, or strain.
  • Do not blow your nose for 1 week, or as directed. You might damage the surgery area by blowing your nose.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for you to breathe and help thin your nasal discharge. Wash the humidifier each day with soap and warm water to keep it free of germs.
  • Rinse or moisten your nose with salt water as directed. This may help loosen any dried blood or mucus. Ask for more information on how to prepare and do nasal washings.
  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diapers, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Limit the amount of caffeine you drink.

Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:

You will need to return to have the surgery area checked. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.