Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Recovery Time

Sinus Surgery

People are often concerned about the recovery after the Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery or FESS. Ideally, patients suffering from acute or chronic sinusitis should consider undergoing surgery. Patients who are not satisfied with the results of medicines or antibiotics should also consider this option. With the help of FESS surgery, the ENT Specialists are able to cure deviated septum, nasal polyps, acute or chronic sinusitis, and enlarged turbinates. Doctors explain that the success of the sinus surgery depends majorly on the recovery.

Take this article as a guide to the recovery after the FESS surgery. This primarily covers the common questions that people have related to the recovery of sinus surgery.

How Long Does It Take To Recover from Sinus Surgery?

After the procedure is complete, the patient is kept under observation for a couple of hours and then discharged. Depending on the extent of the surgery, the recovery lasts for a couple of days. Generally, people are able to recover within 2-5 days of the surgery and return to their normal activities. Meanwhile, the patient needs to ensure that their heart rate isn’t elevated or it can crease the risk of bleeding.

For people whose work doesn’t demand moving around too much, can resume work in about 1 week. However, if the person’s job demands him/her to lift heavyweight or perform any strenuous activity, they should wait for at least 1-2 months.

What To Expect After FESS Surgery?

Following the surgery, there can be some complications the patient has to experience. There is nothing fret about as these are some common risks that occur after sinus surgery. With proper instructions, these side effects can be curbed easily.

  • Stuffiness inside the nose- After the first weeks of the surgery, it is very common for the patients to feel their nose stuffy. Within a fortnight or by the end of three weeks, the nasal airways clear and the patient is able to breathe freely.
  • Bleeding- Once the individual irrigates their sinuses, it is normal for them to have some bloody discharge. Use tissue or gauze under the nose to stop the bloody discharge. However, some patients may have nasal packing inside their nose that prevents the bleeding.
  • Pain- People who have undergone a sinus surgery are likely to have pain and bruising around the eyes and under the cheeks. There can be varying degrees of pain, the patient is likely to feel during the recovery.  
  • Fatigue and tiredness- Due to the continued functioning of the body to healing faster, the body may remain tired and fatigued for a couple of weeks following the surgery. Hence, doctors recommend taking rest as much as possible.

What Instructions To Follow After FESS Surgery?

After proper consultation with the doctor, the patient should take leave from their work so that they can rest properly. Also, prior to the surgery, he or she should ask someone to accompany them to the hospital and drive them back home after.

During the discharge, the doctor provides a list of dos and don’ts that patients should follow after the surgery. This ensures that the side effects are curbed as well as the patient is able to recover fast. Below are some general instructions that ENT doctors advise to follow-

  • Avoid excessive straining or heavy lifting or blowing the nose for at least 10 days of the surgery or else, this can cause bleeding.
  • After 1 week of the surgery, the patient can start light exercising and normal workout 2 weeks after the surgery.
  • Do not take aspirin or Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motril, Advil and Aleve for two weeks after the surgery. Take these medicines only after proper consultation with the doctor.
  • After surgery, to get relief from the stuffiness and open the nasal airways, use nasal saline mist spray every 2-3 hours. Fortunately, these sprays are easily available over-the-counter. However, make sure you avoid using steroid nasal sprays.
  • The day following the surgery, start irrigating the sinuses with saline rinse kits. Doctors prescribe nasal irrigation at least twice a day. This irrigation technique cleans out the debris and bloody discharge inside the nose and sinuses.

What Foods To Eat after Sinus Surgery?

During the recovery period, the patient has to be extremely careful of their diet plan. Proper nutrition can help the patient recover fast and speed up healing. Unless specified otherwise by the doctor, the patient can eat a normal diet. In case the stomach is upset, he or she should eat fat-free, bland plain rice, yogurt, or toast.

After the surgery, it is common for patients to experience bouts of constipation due to the anesthesia. To ensure proper bowel movements, one should eat balanced and fiber-riched meals.

Here is a list of food items that doctor recommend to eat during the recovery period to minimize the risk of inflammation in the sinuses include-

  • Turmeric as it is with loaded anti-inflammatory properties
  • Red bell peppers rich in vitamin C
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, leafy greens, bean sprouts, cauliflower
  • Citrus fruits including oranges, berries, and grapefruit
  • Fishes and lean meat
  • Taking spices such as basil, ginger and cayenne pepper

When To Visit The Doctor?

In rare circumstances, the person may experience some severe side effects and complications that require medical attention. These occur generally when the patient doesn’t follow post-operative instructions properly. Visit the doctor immediately if you experience any one of the following-

  • Severe headache or stiffness of the neck
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Clearwater discharge in the first week of the surgery that doesn’t stop
  • On the first day of the recovery, fever higher than 101 degrees F
  • Swelling of the eyes or visual changes
  • Steady, brisk bleeding from the nose that doesn’t stop


Although patients are able to return to work within a couple of days of FESS surgery, sometimes these may need longer than usual. There are some factors such as the lower immunity of the patient that can slow down the healing process. In any case, if the patient feels uncomfortable in any circumstances, they should seek medical help or visit their nearest clinic without any further delay.


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