How to Alleviate Congestion?

I am 9 days post op and my nose feels so stuffy. It is so hard for me to breath through it, and my mouth get unbelievable dry, especially at night. Is there any way to speed up this process, or will it all just work out on its own?

Doctor Answers 4

Nasal Congestion After Surgery

At nine days after surgery it can be a bit frustrating to have difficulty breathing.  Realize that this is normal for your stage of recovery.  After surgery there is swelling which occurs inside and outside of the nose.  It can take up to 3 months for this swelling to completely resolve.  In the mean time I would suggest frequent nasal rinses with saline spray to keep the nose moist. I would also suggest a cool mist humidifier which can be used while sleeping.  I would suggest against using antihistamines, as they will have a drying effect on your nose.  I would also caution the use of nasal sprays such as afrin for an extended period of time, as they can actually cause increased congestion when used for a prolonged period.  Lastly, I would suggest against the use of intranasal steroid sprays for at least a month after nasal surgery.  Good Luck  

Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Mose care after your surgery

A wet nose is a happy nose.  Keep you sleeping quarters humidified with cool mist.  Keep a little Vaseline in your nose.  Use saline spray in your nose. Use the same regimen you would for a cold.  This includes antihistamine-decongestion tablets, mild nasal sprat, possibly steroid nasal spray.   If your mouth is dry , your nose is dry.  Dry noses crust and bleed.  Again.....a wet nose is a happy nose after nose surgery. My Best,  Dr C

George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Stuffy after nasal surgery or Rhinoplasty

What you are experiencing is completely normal after nasal surgery, though nonetheless frustrating. After surgery the lining tissues of the nose can swell significantly, making breathing nearly impossible.


I agree with Dr Commons in stating "A wet nose is a happy nose". Humidification is your best friend during the healing process. Moisture will help the tissues heal faster, reduce swelling, and reduce crusting. Keep a bottle of over the counter nasal saline with you and spray your nose every couple of hours while you are awake. At night use a humidifier next to your bed and put a coat of vaseline inside your nose after washing your hands. 

Hang in there, this is normal and will get better. I hope your surgery is a wonderful success. 

Best, Dr S


Travis L. Shaw, MD
Richmond Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Stuffy nose after rhinoplasty

A stuffy nose is not an uncommon problem after rhinoplasty.  Certain manuevers performed during the surgery can cause this to be more of an issue post operatively.  Rarely, it could be a sign of a potential problem and therefore you should immediately discuss this with your surgeon.

William Franckle, MD, FACS
Voorhees Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.