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Recovering from Septoplasty Surgery

Bob Bessette
Last updated
14 December 2019

This is Part 3 in a series of articles dealing with septoplasty surgery and my first-hand experience with preparing for the surgery, the day of the surgery, and post-operative recovery.

I want others who will have the surgery to understand what it entails. Hopefully these articles will make it easier and less mysterious to others who have to go through it.

Don’t miss the first 2 articles in the series: Part 1: Preparing for Septoplasty Surgery and Part 2: Septoplasty – Day of my Surgery


As I start to write this article, it has been exactly five days since my septoplasty and turbinoplasty surgery. I am still in recovery mode and still have the splints in my nostrils which will be removed in a couple of days. 

I cannot wait for the splints to be removed because it will be at that time that I should be able to breathe normally through both nostrils for probably the first time in my life. As of day 5, I still have some swelling of my nose but that could be related to the fact that I still have the splints in there which is keeping my straightened septum in place.

You can also review my septoplasty before and after article which will contain a compilation of the 3 articles and a video which will show me prior to and post-surgery.

I’ll try to give a timeline of my recovery as it has gone thus far. 

Timeline of Recovering from Septoplasty Surgery

  • Day 1 – After the surgery, my wife drove me home from the One Day Surgery Center. It is required that you have someone drive you home as I was in no condition to drive myself. Just outside the surgery center was a drive-thru pharmacy where we picked up a prescription for pain meds (hydrocodone-acetominiphine tablets).


It was a container with 30 tablets but I can say that I only took one as I am very leery of ingesting any opioids. The hospital even supplied us with a package called DETERRA (seen below) which is a drug deactivation system which allows you to safely dispose of the tablets that you do not use. They also required me to sign a waiver that I would not sell any tablets that remained in the bottle, which for me was 29 unused pills.

DETERRA (front of package)
DETERRA (back of package)

I ended up using extra strength acetaminophen in lieu of the tablets with the opioids which worked well for my needs. These extra strength acetaminophen tables contain no aspirin. I started out taking 2 tablets every 4-6 hours and eventually dropped down to 1 every 4-6 hours.

During the first 24 hours I was changing my moustache dressing about every hour due to the fact that it filled with blood in about that timeframe. I was also constantly using the saline solution as they say it’s extremely important to keep your nostrils moist. Even today (5 days later) I am using the saline solution in my nostrils about every 2 hours.

That night I slept on a recliner as it was important to keep your head raised to facilitate drainage from the nose. I got up frequently to change the moustache dressing gauze.

  • Symptoms:
    • Generally lethargic due to surgery and pain meds.
    • Numbness of my gums above front teeth and general tightness and swelling of my nose.
  • Tips:
    • Keep your head raised by laying on a recliner and sleep there at least for the first night.
    • Constant flush nostrils with nasal saline spray, hourly if possible.
    • You should purchase a straw or a cup with a built-in straw so that you can easily drink liquids with the moustache dressing in place. No one ever suggested that we do this so I hope this gives you a heads up!
  • Day 2 – Day 4 – My recovery was hampered a bit or complicated a bit by the fact that I had developed a slight cold before the surgery. I quickly discovered that even a small cold can have a big effect during the recovery process. Since I was already tired due to the meds, any additional strain on my system didn’t help.


    After the first 24 hours I was able to not have to use the mustache dressing regularly. But since I was still draining from my nose with some blood I was also draining from my nose due to my cold.

    I must’ve gone through 2 boxes of tissues during this time. The big problem is you cannot blow your nose with the splints in place so your basically just using a tissue to clean up anything that has drained. I really wanted to blow my nose BUT I COULDN’T! Another thing is I was sneezing a lot from the cold and they tell you at the hospital that if you have to sneeze be sure to open your mouth which I had to do constantly.

    During this time my upper lip, gums above my front teeth, and nose area was still numb from the operation but over these days the numbness got less and less which was a good sign.

  • Symptoms:
    • My energy level was much higher than Day 1.
    • Still have numbness of my gums above front teeth and general tightness and swelling of my nose but it was lessening.
  • Tips:
    • Keep your head raised by laying on a recliner and sleep there if you don’t feel comfortable sleeping in a bed yet.
    • Still continue to flush nostrils with nasal saline spray, hourly if possible.
    • If you need to sneeze, make sure you open your mouth as wide as possible beforehand to prevent a lot of air from rushing through your nostrils.
  • Day 5 – Day 6 – Day 5 was maybe the first day that I had some strength and was starting to feel myself. The numbness in my upper lip and gums was the least it had been since the operation. I was starting to feel like I’m almost out of the woods and in 2 days the splints will be removed! Day 6 was even better. I continued to flush my nostrils with saline spray.
  • Day 7It is finally here! This is the day I was most looking forward to! This is the day, exactly one week from my surgery day, where my splints will be removed! I still cannot breathe through my nostrils until those are removed and then I can finally blow my nose due to my cold!

I’m writing this as I just returned from getting my splints removed. Believe me, it was worth it! I can now breathe through both nostrils. I can best describe it as now I feel like I’m breathing in an ocean breeze through both of my nostrils!

And I can tell you for sure, and I have heard differently from others, that having the splints removed was nothing at all. It didn’t hurt at all and just felt glorious once they were removed. I know that the reason it didn’t hurt at all was because I used my saline solution religiously the week after my surgery. This prevented the splints from being embedded in your nostrils due to the hardening of any mucus that is in there. Hydrating with saline in this area is key to a successful splint removal!

I took a couple of pictures of the splints right after they were taken out by the nurse. I know it’s a little gross but you can see them below held up against the nurse’s finger.

The splints were roughly 2 1/4″ long and over an inch at the widest part. The nurse is holding them here in portrait and landscape mode. It is amazing how big these were and the fact that they were up in my nasal passages for a week! They are able to fit in your nostrils is because they are flexible, especially the part that she is holding.
  • Tips the nurse gave me before my follow-up with my doctor in 2 weeks:
    • I can blow my nose but don’t squeeze my nostrils together or rub them back and forth when done blowing. Just dab at the bottom of my nose with the tissue to collect the mucus.
    • Continue to regularly use the saline spray as now I am in what she called a wet healing mode. You want to keep everything clean in your nostrils so the healing will continue.
    • I should now use the antibiotic ointment (seen in the Tools for Recovering from Septoplasty Surgery below) but use a Q-Tip and dab it in my nostrils about a 1/2″ up on the inside all the way around each nostril. There are sutures that kept the splints in place that need to heal going forward as well as my nasal septum.
    • To my dismay she also warned against any type of strenuous exercising until the follow-up with my doctor. I was hoping to get back to lifting weights but it’ll just have to wait. I’m going to step up my walking game!

Tools for Recovering from Septoplasty Surgery

If you ever have to deal with recovering from septoplasty surgery the following items are a must. I cannot stress enough to regularly use your saline solution.

Tools for a Successful Recovery
(the above items are essential to having a successful recovery from septoplasty surgery)


Antibiotic Ointment
(this is used to coat the ends of your nostrils to keep them supple)
Saline Nasal Spray
( it’s important to spray as much saline as possible into your nostrils to keep them hydrated and clean)
Moustache Dressing
Moustache Dressing
(used primarily for the first 24 hours to catch the blood that drips from your nose due to the surgery)
Gauze Pads
Gauze Pads
(used in conjunction with the moustache dressing and each time they are changed the nurse recommended using 3 sheets folded up)

I hope this series of articles helps you too deal with your own experience with septoplasty and turbinoplasty surgery. Recovering from septoplasty surgery can be easier if you do the right things and follow the doctor and nurse’s orders and suggestions. Here is my youTube video of me with before and after views of my nose.

I would appreciate it if you would leave any questions in the comments below or you can ask me via my Contact Me page.

Don’t miss the first 2 articles in the series below.
Part 1 – Preparing for Septoplasty Surgery
Part 2 – Septoplasty – Day of my Surgery

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