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What do I need to know about a nasal polypectomy?
A nasal polypectomy is done to remove polyps from your nasal or sinus cavity.
How do I prepare for a nasal polypectomy?
Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery. You may need to stop taking blood thinners, aspirin, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen up to 4 weeks before surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You will need someone to drive you home after the surgery.
What will happen during surgery?
You will be given medicine to keep you relaxed or asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your healthcare provider will place an endoscope through your nostrils and into your nose and sinuses. An endoscope is a thin tube with a magnifying lens, light, and camera. He will use small tools to remove the polyps in your nasal cavity. He may also have to remove swollen tissue in your sinuses that may be blocking your airway. Your healthcare provider may place packing in your nose to help stop bleeding and catch drainage.
What are the risks of a nasal polypectomy?
You may bleed more than expected. You will have swelling in your sinuses that can increase your risk of a sinus infection. You may leak spinal fluid from the roof of your nose. You may have changes in your vision. Your polyps may return. Repeated return of nasal polyps may cause you to have open surgery of your sinuses.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your nose continues to bleed, even after self-care steps.
- You have steady drainage of clear watery fluid from your nose.
- You have a severe headache or stiff neck.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You have changes in your vision.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be given to prevent an infection after surgery.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.
Change the drip pad under your nose as needed. Write down the amount and color of the drainage. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to use saline nasal sprays and sinus irrigations. These will help with discomfort after surgery and clean your nasal and sinus areas.
- Dab your nose with a tissue. Do not blow your nose for 2 weeks. You may cause your nose to bleed by blowing your nose. Nasal congestion and discharge are normal after surgery.
- Apply ice to your nose 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel, then place it over your nose. This will help decrease swelling, prevent bleeding, and help with pain.
- Pinch your nostrils for 10 to 15 minutes if your nose bleeds. Your healthcare provider may tell you to use a nasal congestion spray to stop the bleeding. If bleeding continues, contact your healthcare provider. Do not swallow blood.
- Elevate your head on 2 to 3 pillows while sleeping. This will help you breathe better and decrease swelling and help with drainage.
- Avoid demanding activities and lifting for 2 weeks. Do not strain when you have a bowel movement. Pressure from these may cause your nose to bleed.
- Avoid crowds and smoke. These may cause illness and irritation to your nose.
- Do not take NSAIDs. These medicines may cause you to bleed more after your surgery. Ask your healthcare provider what you can take for pain.
Prevent the return of polyps:
- Identify and avoid asthma and allergy triggers. Take medicine as soon as you have any sign of asthma flare or allergic reaction.
- Wash your hands often. This will help prevent the spread of germs and allergens.
- Do not use nose drops or sprays too often. Read the label and use only as directed.
Follow up with your healthcare provider in 1 to 2 days and as directed:
If you have nasal packing, it will be removed within 1 to 2 days after surgery. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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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.