Experiencing congestion after a procedure that was initially done to reduce congestion can be quite frustrating. Not only can it feel a little disheartening, but it can make you question whether your septoplasty procedure or turbinate reduction was worth it to begin with. Don’t fret, this is quite common and can be alleviated with a little time and humidity.

First, let’s break down what septoplasty and turbinate reduction are, what it actually treats, and how it can benefit you.


Septoplasty is a light surgical procedure that’s performed to realign a deviated septum. This is a necessary operation when part of your nasal passages become obstructed and begin preventing airflow to easily pass through your nasal cavity. The operation is typically an outpatient procedure and doesn’t require any breaking of bones within your nose. This procedure doesn’t require cosmetic changes and most patients begin to recover within a week after the operation.

One study showed that 85% of septoplasty patients feel relief in their symptoms following surgery.


Made out of bone and covered by soft tissue, turbinates are thin structures aligning the nasal cavity. They act as radiators that help heat and humidify the air that filters through the nose. This process allows air we inhale to heat, balance out moisture, and be cleaned before it passes into our lungs. Turbinates are important to our body because they can help remove potential bacteria in the air.

woman with headache

When inflamed you may experience more than congestion when it comes to breathing. Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Headaches
  • Runny nose
  • Altered taste
  • Facial Pressure

Turbinate reduction operations are generally not very time-consuming and are in-office or outpatient procedures done with septoplasty or balloon sinuplasty. A small incision is usually made in the lining of the enlarged turbinate to assist in resizing it. The procedure is not very invasive and can assist in reducing the turbinate’s obstruction of your nasal passageways.

The National Library of Medicine documented that 82% of turbinate reduction patients are satisfied with their results post-op.


If you’re experiencing symptoms of enlarged turbinates or a deviated septum, the best treatment may be a small procedure with Dr. Alen Cohen. By talking with your doctor you can determine if septoplasty, turbinate reduction, balloon sinuplasty or a combination of these procedures is your best option in the office or surgical center. At first, they may treat the condition with nasal sprays or antihistamines or rinses, but if your symptoms worsen or don’t go away, then it might be time to consider septoplasty or turbinate reduction or balloon sinuplasty.

If your symptoms are causing any of the following, contact your doctor to schedule an appointment and determine your best route of treatment.

  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Sinus headaches daily
  • Facial pressure daily
  • Severe runny nose or postnasal drip
  • Recurrent and prolonged sinus infections
  • Interrupted sleep or significant snoring



As expected, after septoplasty your surgeon will suggest that you get plenty of rest for the remainder of the day. You’ll need somebody to drive you home, and you should try not to touch or rub your nose. Dr. Cohen will recommend that you avoid blowing your nose over the next few weeks. This will help prevent further irritation while it heals.

You can apply small ice packs to your nose and eyes to help with swelling, and if your pain is severe your doctor may recommend Tylenol or some light narcotics for a few days.

Most people fully recover from septoplasty surgery within 3-4 weeks, but you can return to your normal routine within 1 week including exercise.  Patients usually return to work in 4-5 days.


If your chosen treatment is a turbinate reduction, it may take a couple of weeks before you notice that your nasal cavity is open and breathing well.  The recovery is super simple with this in-office procedure as patients have a cotton ball in their nose for a few hours to catch dripping and say they feel congested for 2-3 days and then everything is back to normal in 1 – 2 weeks.  Patients are recommended salt water rinses starting the day following the procedure to help with healing.  Patients return to work in 24-48 hours after procedure and also can exercise in 72 hours following procedure when done by super sinus doctor Alen Cohen, MD FACS FARS.


Recovery time for septoplasty and turbinate reduction varies for each individual. It also depends on how invasive your procedure was. Most of the time complete healing in your nose is complete within 3-4 weeks. However, if you’re experiencing difficulty breathing, uncontrollable nosebleeds, or colored nasal discharge more than a week after your procedure, it’s time to call your doctor.

Common symptoms you can monitor but don’t need to immediately worry about post-procedure may include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Congestion
  • Sinus pain or pressure
  • Discomfort or slight pain and soreness
  • Dryness

If any of your symptoms become unbearable or feel concerning, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. You may experience a feeling of stuffiness for 1-3 weeks following surgery, but it should lessen over time. If your doctor prescribes any kind of medicines and you’re still feeling heavy pain after a week or two, it’s okay to contact them and ask for advice.

Many patients suffer from severe inflammation of the nose and sinuses in addition to structural issues due to environmental allergies or irritants in the air, like pollution or smoke, which can also cause congestion.  In these patients staying on long term saline rinses or nasal steroid sprays is important even after your procedure to prevent inflammation.


If you’re experiencing discomfort or trouble breathing through your nose, you may have an enlarged turbinate, sinus problems or may be experiencing side effects from a deviated septum. To schedule an appointment that can help address any concerns you have regarding your nose or symptoms you’re experiencing, contact us today. Dr. Alen Cohen’s office hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday – Friday.

Don’t spend your days living in discomfort with sinus headaches, replacing sheets from overnight nosebleeds, or walking around feeling congested all the time. World-renowned sinus doctor, Alen N. Cohen MD FACS FARS and his team of experts can help determine and diagnose what underlying issue is causing your symptoms and help create a direct plan to treat it.

Schedule your appointment online today or by giving us a call at (818) 888-7878.