How to Prepare for Sinus Surgery
My work as the director of the Los Angeles Sinus Institute involves performing frequent sinus surgeries, as you might expect. But no matter how many times I plan these procedures, I continue to be surprised by the number of patients who forget to follow, or simply ignore, the detailed pre-operative instructions we offer at the center and on our site. It bears repeating that these instructions exist only for the safety of patients, and that failing to prepare appropriately for sinus surgery can put you in real danger. Herewith, then, I give you a quick redux of the major talking points.
Medicines to Avoid
NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These include Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, and Aleve. These medications can increase the risk of bleeding during and after a sinus surgery procedure, which can create complications for your surgery and recovery. I recommend stopping all such medications for at least two weeks before and after your procedure. Try Tylenol instead, or contact your doctor for a recommendation.
Also avoid: herbal medicines. Many herbal supplements that are marketed as stimulants (such as ginkgo and ginseng) may also increase the risk of bleeding. Not to mention the fact that many herbal supplements are poorly studied and understood, and may unexpectedly interfere with your anesthesia or post-operative care.
Medicines to Take
The ones your sinus surgeon prescribes. It is not unusual to have pre-operative scripts written to help reduce the risk of bleeding or inflammation, so always check with your physician to make sure you have everything you need well in advance of your procedure.
This is extremely important for sinus surgery in particular, as these facial structures will otherwise absorb most of the smoke. The result could be poor healing and increased scarring. I advise stopping several weeks before surgery, difficult as that may be. Failing to do so could imperil the safety of your sinus surgery procedure.
Sensing a theme here? Alcohol can promote bleeding as well and diminish your body’s ability to heal effectively. Lay off the bottle for at least two weeks prior to your procedure to keep your tissues clear and primed for a successful operation.
Granted this one isn’t a weeks-long decree: you may eat anything you want until midnight the day before your procedure. Once the clock strikes twelve, however, it’s time to avoid all food and drink. An empty stomach is crucial to the safe administration of anesthesia.
For any other medications such as your regular prescriptions, always contact the sinus surgeon to get an informed recommendation. Good preparation can help you achieve a far better outcome and a seamless experience on the day of your surgery. And that means we can all breathe a little easier.