Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) Aftercare

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery, or FESS, is done to treat chronic sinus infections. The surgeon uses small instruments to go through the nose and open the sinuses. This allows the sinuses to drain so there will be fewer infections.

Your child should rest at home for the first 24 hours after surgery. He or she may become more active when feeling better. Usually a child may return to school one to two days following a functional endoscopic sinus surgery. He or she should not take gym or do any heavy exercise such as bike riding, swimming or other sports activity until approved by the doctor.

After surgery, start by giving your child clear liquids such as apple juice, water, Kool-Aid, soda or Popsicles. On the first day after surgery many children can eat soft foods like soup, mashed potatoes, applesauce or bananas. Your child may eat regular foods when he or she feels ready.

Your child may have a stuffy nose and discomfort from swelling in the nose. Children usually do not need pain medicine other than acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin). Call your child's doctor if the pain lasts longer than one week or if the medicine does not help the pain. Your child may feel better resting with his or her head on two or three pillows.

You may see some bleeding from the nose the first few days after surgery. Your child may need a bandage under the nostrils. It may need to be changed many times during the first few days. The bandage may be taken off when the bleeding slows down. The child may have slightly pink drainage for up to one week after surgery. Your child's doctor will let you know if your child can blow his or her nose.

  • Bleeding lasts for longer than three days
  • There is clear watery drainage from the nose
  • Pain is not helped by acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • There is increased swelling of the face or eyes
  • There is a change in vision
  • Your child has a severe headache or severe face pain / pressure
  • Your child experiences a fever over 102°F (38.8°C)
  • Vomiting occurs and lasts more than six hours
  • You have any questions or problems

Your child's doctor may want your child to return to the operating room two to three weeks after the functional endoscopic sinus surgery. The doctor will check the inside of the sinuses for healing and will remove any crusting or infection if needed. This is called nasal endoscopy.

Last Updated 05/2015