Is alternating swelling post turbinoplasty/septoplasty common?

I am 5 days post op and I feel the swelling goes down a little bit each day. But when it does swell it alternates where one side swells shut and then it decreases and the other side swells shut. I am wondering if that is common at this stage of the recovery. I thought I would be swollen at all times but that doesn't seem to be the case. It's like the turbinates take turns blocking off my nose one side at a time.

Doctor Answers 1

Alternating swelling

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What you are noting is something called the nasal cycle. The turbinates are covered in erectile tissue and it is their job to warm and humidify inspired air. Anywhere from every 30 minutes to 3 hours they will alternate which side is engorged and which side is decongested. When you have septal swelling after surgery this is more pronounced because the septum takes up more space and when the turbinates go through their cycle you have less room to breathe. This will all resolve as the swelling settles out. All the best,


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