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Please can you advise whether it is normal to suffer from bad headaches after a sepotplasty and turbinate trimming?

By Anonymous June 1, 2010 - 7:07am
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I had the above operation exactly 5 weeks ago. The initial aftermath was quite difficult in terms of not being to breathe but gradually the swelling has decreased and I now have about 80% air flow through each nostril. However, I am suffering from the most painful headaches across my forehead (predominantly on the right which is where the septum was mainly deviated) which only reduce after taking pain relief, but do not go completely. I also have pain in both cheeks around the cheek bone areas. I sometimes sense a feeling which is almost like something contracting in my head. I am using a saline sinus rinse twice a day and have been told I should use this for a month in total. What I am seeking is some reassurance that these symptoms are normal after such surgery (which I am advised was quite extensive) and if so for how long the headaches are likely to occur.

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Hi, Anon,

I am researching this for you, but most of what I have found is anecdotal information -- former patients telling of their experiences. Several of them do mention headaches that are quite severe. But some of them connect the headaches to still having splints, cotton or packing in their nose. At 5 weeks post-surgery, I'm sure that's not the case for you.

I really want you to call the office of your ENT and ask the nurse or physician's assistant whether they are concerned that you are still having headaches this severe 5 weeks after the surgery. When was the last time they checked you, and do you have another followup appointment soon?

This article on septoplasty and turbinate reduction by the American Rhinologic Society mentions possible complications, but doesn't mention headaches like you describe:


I'm so glad you are breathing so much better and I certainly hope that continues as you continue healing. But will you call your doctor's office to ask about the headaches, and then come back and update us here? I'm very interested to know what you find out.

June 2, 2010 - 8:49am
(reply to Diane Porter)

Dear Diane
Thank you so much for getting back to me so promptly. I called my ENT consultant yesterday but, unfortunately, he is away until next Tuesday. His secretary has advised me to consult with my GP in the interim but she did offer the information that she has known other patients suffer from headaches following this procedure. She further went on to say that where there has been little or no air passage for years (as in my case) the mere fact that air is now reaching the sinus cavities can cause pain. She also said that one patient thought he was having headaches but it was in fact "numbness" which his brain registered as pain. All sounds a bit far fetched to me but I guess anything is possible! I will let you know what progress I make and come back to you in due course. Regards. Maryke

June 2, 2010 - 9:38am
(reply to Maryke)


I'm really glad you called your ENT consultant. I'm sorry he's away until next week (doesn't that so often seem to be the case when we really need a question answered?!) but it sounds like you got some good information in the meantime. I hope that you can talk to him or get in to see him quite soon and figure out if there's anything that could be done to help your headaches while you continue to heal. I'll look for your update.

June 3, 2010 - 9:53am
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