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How to Recover From Caldwell-Luc Surgical Procedures

Updated April 17, 2017

Caldwell-Luc procedures have been in practice for over 80 years, reports Dr. Steven Schaefer of The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. The development of minimally invasive endoscopic surgical equipment has reduced recovery time. You'll need to see your doctor for follow-up visits during the six weeks following surgery and then every three months for the first year following your surgery. The care you take during your recovery can hasten your healing from this nasal surgery.

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  1. Ingest clear fluids such as broths, carbonated drinks and Jell-O to restart your digestive system. The anaesthesia used during surgery temporarily disables your gastrointestinal tract. You can begin eating normal food after 24 hours.

  2. Change your nasal dressing as needed. You will experience bloody discharge from your nose and down your throat after a Caldwell-Luc procedure. If you experience more than a few tablespoons of such discharge or if you have to change the dressing every few minutes, contact your doctor. The gauze will need changing frequently in the first 24 hours and then the bleeding and mucus discharge should dissipate throughout your recovery.

  3. Take your antibiotics and/or oral steroids for as long as your doctor has prescribed. Manage your pain with prescription pain killers or over-the-counter medicines such as Tylenol.

  4. Sleep propped up on several pillows. For two days, use an icepack on the bridge of your nose for five minute intervals to limit the swelling following your Caldwell-Luc procedure.

  5. Rinse your nose with saline solution after the second day. Use a syringe or Waterpik nasal attachment. Cleanse your nose two times a day for six weeks and then once a day after that. You may relieve nose stuffiness with a nasal steroid spray 30 minutes after rinsing your nasal passages.

  6. See your doctor for advanced cleaning of your nose or sinuses. The number of times you'll need to see your doctor in the first six weeks will depend upon your rate of healing and how well you cleanse your nasal passages, according to Dr. Schaefer. You'll need to see your doctor every three months for the first year and may need continued appointments thereafter.

  7. Tip

    Most people resume their normal activities the day after a Caldwell-Luc procedure. You can go back to work and engage in light activities, reports Dr. Schaefer.


    Avoid any strenuous activities that can raise your blood pressure for at least two weeks. Avoid blowing your nose for two to four weeks, advises Dr. Schaeffer, and sneeze with an open mouth. Don't board an aeroplane for at least two weeks following your Caldwell-Luc procedure. Contact your doctor if you experience excessive bleeding, chills, fever or excess sleepiness, warns Dr. Schaefer.

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Things You'll Need

  • Gauze
  • Icepack
  • Pillows
  • Prescription medications
  • Nasal sprays
  • Syringe

About the Author

Sumei FitzGerald

Sumei FitzGerald has been writing professionally since 2008 on health, nutrition, medicine and science topics. She has published work on doctors' websites such as Colon Cancer Resource, psychology sites such as Webpsykologen and environmental websites such as Supergreenme. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Connecticut where she also studied life sciences.

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