I can't get no sinusfaction.
March 17, 2008 10:33 AM   Subscribe

What was your post nasal polyp surgery experience like?

I've asked a bunch of these questions to my doctor already but I wanted to know if any of the hivemind have gone through this procedure. Would I be okay for work on Monday if I had this done the previous Wednesday? Would the swelling have subsided? What is it like with the splints and packing? How often did you have to get them redone and for how long? What is sleeping like? How are you doing now?

Due to my sinus problems and the attempts before to make it better, I really want to do this. However, I keep on thinking about the scene in the Mummy when Evelyn explains how Egyptians got the brains out.
posted by spec80 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've had two of these surgeries. Both knocked me out for at least five full days and made me look like I was involved in a serious head-on collision. Because the nasal passages are mostly blocked, sleep was very difficult even with the narcotics. In addition, it just hurts...

I'd say... not the following Monday. Maybe the following week. Do every thing the doctors tell you and take all the pain meds before it hurts. Long-term, consider saline nasal lavage as a way to avoid future surgeries. Saved my life they did!

And that image of the Egyptions taking the brains out.... that is how they get the splints out. Of your face. With heliostats. Nobody should see something the size of a deck of cards being removed from their head via their nostrel. That alone is worth an extra Percocet or two.
posted by answergrape at 11:09 AM on March 17, 2008


I had this done about 5 years ago--the month before I started college. I was 18.

The minute I woke up after the surgery, I was amazed by how much clearer my sinuses were than beforehand. My nasal polyps were blocking my airway, so even with all the gauze packing, I could breath a lot easier AFTER surgery rather than before.

I was really exhausted for about 4 days, and pretty tired for even up to 10 days.

I'm doing great now. I've had no recurrences, and I have no regrets with the operation except the hell my parents went through with health insurance. There was a fiasco where the hospital broke some contract with the insurance company, but everything's good now.

The doctor had me use a "positive pressure saline nasal wash" afterwards to wash out the scabs and keep everything moist to help the healing process. I don't know the brand offhand, but its in a blue box and you can buy it at Target for about 12 bucks. It comes with little packets to make the water the right osmotic balance to not irritate your sinuses. I stopped using it after a few months, but my allergies have changed since I moved into my new place, and I'm using it again to keep my allergies down. It's like a neti pot but you squeeze it with your hand to squirt water.

I had pretty much no problem sleeping, but I was on some pain medication that made me fairly sleepy anyway.

I don't think I had any splints in. I know my sinuses were packed full of gauze and the extraction a week or so later was pretty disgusting--think dark red, almost black, ooey gooey slimy pieces being pulled out of your sinuses with heliostats. It wasn't comfortable, and my eyes watered up, but it wasn't painful. AFAIK, they packed my sinuses with gauze after the operation while I was out, then replaced them a week or so in, and I believe they removed them a week after that.

The only issue I had at all were intense headaches every once in a while for about three months. After a while, I associated these headaches with scabs coming out during that night's nasal wash, and began to irrigate immediately when the headaches happened. A scab would come out, and the headache would be gone within a few minutes.

Feel free to mefi mail if you have questions you don't want to post. I can't think of any, but I'm putting it out there.

(Webkinz the other day and nasal polyps today. Anyone else have any niche questions I'll have a page of answers to?)
posted by adamwolf at 11:34 AM on March 17, 2008


I had the surgery once about 8 years ago. My experience was nearly identical to what answergrape describes. A lot of pain (mostly from the packing) and an inability to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time - both due to the packing - left me pretty much out of commission until I got the packing out, about 7 days after surgery. The taking the brains out of mummies analogy is spot on. But my GOD it felt so good when that damn packing was finally out! But despite the pain, it was worth it. Fortunately I still have no need to have surgery again.
posted by dchase at 11:49 AM on March 17, 2008


I had it done in conjunction with much more serious surgery (orthognathic surgery, in which both jaws were broken and repositioned), plus it turned out that I have hemophilia (huzzah!), so I must stress that my immediate post-surgery experience (which included several days in ICU) is NOT typical.

So, with that disclaimer: breathing at all through my nose took several weeks. The packing came out after a few days (and didn't really hurt, but then I was still being pumped full of morphine at that point); I was, however, still horking out blood clots weeks later. Sleeping was not great -- I had to sleep sitting up for a month or two (again, not typical), and it was freaky only being able to breathe through my mouth (though the freakiness was compounded because my teeth were wired shut). I was bandaged for weeks, bruised for months (women would seriously shield their kids from me in public when I first got out of the hospital), and swollen for more than a year. This will not happen to you, but it may be handy to keep in mind for perspective's sake!

Now, three years later, it's pretty awesome: I can breathe infinitely better, and -- as a bonus -- I almost never get colds or sinus infections anymore. Seriously, I think I've had 2 colds in the past 3 years, whereas before the surgery I'd get a cold or sinus infection every few months. It was all totally worth it.
posted by scody at 1:08 PM on March 17, 2008


My original surgery (quite a few years ago) involved packing the sinuses post-surgery with gauze (I think it was about three feet of it). Watching the doctor pull it out of my nose was like watching a magician pull a thousand scarves out of a random audience member's ear. It was comical but painful.

The most recent surgery about five years ago involved the splints instead of gauze. I think that's the direction the surgeons are taking; it's easier to remove and seems to result in less bruising afterwards. It was still shocking though.
posted by answergrape at 1:20 PM on March 17, 2008


I had this done about three years ago. No swelling, splints or packing for me, even though doc said I lost a lot of blood. There was almost no pain for the few days afterward, either. The first follow-up was fun, though — I couldn't believe the disgusting things he pulled out of my nose. That was a very uncomfortable sensation, too.

As far as work, my surgery was Thursday and I tried going back to work (a desk job) Monday but tired out pretty quickly and went home early. No problems sleeping.

I am very happy with the results. I breath so much more easily, and a nice side effect is that my allergies are better because doc kept pounding it into my head that I had to use a saline sinus rinse.

Oh, and they gave me cocaine during pre-op to constrict the blood vessels, and it was the most disgusting taste I've ever encountered.
posted by DakotaPaul at 10:10 PM on March 17, 2008


I had nasal polyps removed last December (2007). I was awake for the procedure, chatting with the doctor and staff. The doctor never injected anything into my nose..he just used a packing (wet cotton with some anaesthetic, I guess).

No pain or discomfort. He had some instrument that snipped the polyp out.

However, phenomenal shock when he showed me the SIZE of the polyps that he removed.

No painful aftereffects. I removed the packing at home a few hours later and all was fine.

I breathe well and can smell things again :-)

He recommended the nasal irrigation. I love it. It is by a company called Neilmed (check neilmed.com, I think. I use the 16 ounce bottle, and make up the solution according to the doctors recipe. About 1 quart of water, 3 teaspoons of coarse salt (no additives), and one teaspoon of baking soda. I look forward to irrigating my nose twice a day.

The only problem is that the doc said that polyps are like mushrooms in the garden...they may grow back in a few months. You can bet I will be back begging for another polyp removal if that happens.
posted by mbarryf at 5:31 AM on March 18, 2008


If they give you prednisone, watch out how long they keep you on it. Can cause weight gain, and you have to taper off... And keep irrigating. You don't want those guys coming back.
posted by rikschell at 6:12 AM on March 18, 2008


You guys are all the best answer. Thank you!
posted by spec80 at 9:10 AM on March 18, 2008


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