Nasal polyps are growths in the lining of the nose and sinuses. They generally occur in clusters but can also be seen as a single entity in rare cases.
These nasal polyps are painless and non-cancerous. They can be of varying sizes. Initially, when these polyps are small, they do not cause much harm. In fact, a person might not even know he has polyps because they show no symptoms in the beginning. But as these polyps grow, they start to cause trouble.
Larger polyps can partially block the nose and cause breathing difficulty or even cause complete loss of smell. This commonly happens when they are left untreated for a long time.
Initially, medicines will be given to shrink the nasal polyps. Generally, they are given in the form of nasal sprays. These nasal sprays help deliver the medicine directly into the nose and sinuses. The most commonly used medicines for the treatment of nasal polyps include steroids and antihistamines. But they may not provide a complete cure. If these medicines do not help shrink the polyps, then your doctor may suggest you undergo surgery. The surgical procedure used to remove nasal polyps is called a polypectomy.
Is the nasal polyp surgery painful?
Generally, most people do not feel much pain. You can go back home on the same day of the surgery. You can also feel some minor post-surgical symptoms which generally resolve in a few weeks.
What to expect after the surgery?
Nasal polyp surgery is an outpatient surgical procedure. A patient can go back home the same day after surgery. You can expect these things once you undergo surgery for nasal polyps. However, these things are mild and may resolve in a few days to weeks post-surgery.
- Bleeding: Seeing a small amount of bleeding or blood spots after surgery is very common. It generally lasts for 3-5 days. You can dab the nose with cotton or tissue paper to remove the blood. However, you should not blow your nose.
- Pain: Pain in the nose and sinuses can be another thing you can expect after surgery. The pain can last for a few days. You can take painkillers like paracetamol to ease the pain. However, taking aspirin or other NSAIDs should be avoided.
- Fatigue: You can also experience fatigue for a few days after surgery.
- Nasal congestion: You may also feel nasal congestion after the surgery. It will generally last only for 2-3 weeks. Nasal congestion occurs because of swelling in the nose and sinus area.
Tips for post-operative care
After undergoing surgery, following these tips can help ease the discomfort and pain and helps heal faster.
- Saline nasal spray: Using saline solution as a spray can help to keep the nasal area moist. Use the spray every 3-4 hours to help prevent the dryness of the nose.
- Saline nasal wash: Rinsing the nasal cavity and sinuses with saline solution can help reduce swelling and pain. You can do it twice a day or as prescribed by your surgeon.
- Elevate your head while sleeping.
Things to avoid
- Blowing your nose: Blowing your nose after surgery can cause bleeding. Hence it is always good to dab the nose and remove mucus using cotton or tissue paper. If you feel the mucus is thick to be removed, you can use saline nasal spray. You can gently blow your nose after 2 weeks of surgery.
- Strenuous exercise and other activities: Performing strenuous exercises and activities after surgery can increase blood pressure in the surgical area. This may increase the risk of bleeding.
- Medicines like aspirin and NSAIDs: Aspirin and other NSAIDs are generally used to ease pain. But taking these medicines after surgery can increase the risk of bleeding. Hence the safe choice for reducing pain would be paracetamol.
- Hot showers or hot drinks: Taking hot showers or drinking hot fluids can cause nasal bleeding. Hence it is good to avoid taking hot showers or baths and drinking hot fluids for at least 2 weeks post-surgery.
- Avoid exposure to irritants: Exposure to smoke (cigarette smoke or smoke from pollution), dust, dirt, allergens and other irritants can delay the healing. Apart from this, it can also increase the chance of the polyps coming back.
- Avoid bending or leaning forward for a long time, especially for the first two weeks of surgery.
How long does it take to recover?
It is an outpatient surgery which means you can go back home the same day of surgery. The recovery varies from person to person.
Generally, people can start working a week after post-surgery. 50% of regular activities can be resumed after a week. It may take up to 3 weeks to get back to regular activities. It is very important to take care as it might take a month or two for complete recovery. Regular doctor visits may be necessary for 3-4 months post-surgery.