Recovering from Nasal Septal Reconstruction

by Josée

Disclaimer: Every person is unique so it follows that recovering from nasal septal reconstruction will be different for each person. Below is a description of my own experience and things I found helpful as I recovered from the surgery. I am not a physician so please follow the recommendations set out by your physician. 

I have been suffering from chronic sinusitis for the last five years. After trying a variety of conventional and alternative remedies, with little success, I was referred to an Ear Nose Throat (ENT) specialist. Within minutes he discovered that I have a significant deviated septum and recommended nasal septal reconstruction, a surgical procedure that takes about an hour and is done under general anaesthetic.

It was my first time undergoing surgery and experiencing general anaesthetic. I was nervous but I brought a book to distract myself in the waiting room. The operating room (OR) team was fantastic and I was put to sleep quickly. I have no recollection of anything in the OR. Apparently I tensed up after receiving the muscle relaxant, which surprised the anaesthesiologist, perhaps my subconscious mind was harbouring anxiety about the surgery. As I woke from the surgery I felt a little nauseated, shaky and had pain and rattling in my throat from being intubated. I was given some warm blankets, pain medication and a popsicle to sooth my throat and I started feeling better quickly. Surprisingly, my nose felt fine and I could breath through it.

My nose didn’t bleed until I started moving around. I quickly discovered that the more I moved the more it bled so once I returned home I retreated to my favourite reclining chair and stayed there for the first 48 hours, with the exception of washroom trips. Eventually the tissue in my nasal cavities swelled and I couldn’t breath through my nose any more  The combination of having a bleeding nose, nasal pain, sore throat, the inability to breath through my nose and dry mouth made me feel pretty miserable the first 48 hours after surgery. For the first 48 hours I relied on the things listed below for a smooth recovery. I recommend that you make some preparations and have these things in place before your own nasal septal reconstruction surgery.

Helping Hands. Make sure you have someone to stay by your side for the first 24 to 48 hours. If you have little children try to set some type of child care for at least a few days. The less moving around you have to do the quicker you will heal.

Disposable facial tissue and tape. Stock up on several boxes soft facial tissue. The hospital usually sends you home with gauze but you’ll probably run out. It’s also helpful to have some first-aid tape (or painters tape) to secure the tissue to your face. I found my arm getting pretty sore from constantly holding a tissue up to my nose and it was near impossible to keep the tissue in place while sleeping without securing it somehow.

Soft and liquid foods. Chewing hard foods is uncomfortable and can cause nasal bleeding. This is why a soft or liquid diet is recommended for several days or up to a week after the surgery. Before the surgery stock up on things like yoghurt, jello, fruit for smoothies, ice cream, juice, applesauce, creamy soup or broth. Popsicles are also perfect for soothing the throat. Unfortunately, your sense of smell and taste are almost non-existent for a few days after the surgery.

Shows and music. It is very important to rest after the surgery, so make a comfy spot, keep your head elevated, and relax. Watch some shows or listen to music, you wont feel up to doing much for the first couple days. If you don’t have television check out Ted Talks or 8tracks.

A few other good things to have on hand: prescriptions (usually antibiotics and analgesics), lipbalm, ice pack, water and a garbage can. You should also receive a list of symptoms from the ENT to look out for such as severe pain, fever, large bleed or foul smelling nasal discharge. If you encounter any of those thing call your physician.

I hope that sharing my own experience helps in some small way. This surgery is fairly common and low risk. Now I just need to wait and see if it resolves my sinus issues.

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1 comment

gabriel April 30, 2013 - 6:32 am

Sorry to hear you're recovering from surgery- hope it pays off quickly though.

Get well quickly!

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