Removal of nasal adhesions is a procedure to separate scar tissue
within the nose that has become connected, or fused. Fused tissue is called an
adhesion. Adhesions in the nose are also called synechiae. Adhesions are a
common, usually minor, complication of nasal or sinus surgery and nasal
packing. They also may develop because of trauma (for example, nose-picking or
cocaine use) and such conditions as
Adhesions form when two moist, opposing surfaces inside the nose
heal together, causing a scar. They often form between the septum, which
separates the nostrils, and one of the wavy structures inside the nose
(inferior turbinate). Adhesions can make breathing difficult.
The procedure to remove adhesions usually is done in the doctor's
local anesthesia. The doctor may apply an anesthetic
to the skin, using spray or cotton, and inject local anesthetic. In rare cases,
general anesthesia may be used.
The doctor may use a thin, lighted instrument (endoscope) to see into the nasal passages. He or she
may use surgical scissors, a
laser, or an instrument called a microdebrider to
separate the fused tissue. The microdebrider has a rotating tip that shaves and
removes inflamed tissue.
What to Expect After Surgery
Your nose should heal in 7 to 10 days.
After surgery, a spacer or splint may be placed in your nose for a
few days to several weeks. This helps prevent another adhesion from forming.
You should avoid blowing your nose while the spacer or splint is in place. Your
doctor will probably suggest you use an ointment, such as bacitracin/polymyxin
(for example, Polysporin), to keep your nose moist and prevent infection while
the splint is in place.
A small amount of bleeding or drainage is normal. Your doctor will tell you how to clean your nasal passages using a
saltwater (saline) solution. Sneezing is common after
nasal surgery, especially if you have allergies. You may be given an
antihistamine (one that will not make you sleepy) to reduce the sneezing. These
medicines also may reduce swelling and the likelihood that adhesions will
You also may use a nasal anti-inflammatory (corticosteroid) spray. Although there is little
evidence about the use of these sprays, some doctors think they may help
prevent another adhesion from forming.
Why It Is Done
The procedure removes debris and tissue that have formed adhesions
in the nose.
How Well It Works
This procedure removes adhesions that form in the nasal
The most serious risks are heavy bleeding and infection. Call your
doctor if pus drains from your nose, because this is a sign of
Streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria appear normally in some people.
Packing the nose after surgery in people who have these bacteria increases the
toxic shock syndrome. Call your doctor immediately if
you have any of the following symptoms:
A fever of
101°F (38.3°C) or higher
A rash that
looks like sunburn
Signs of very low blood
pressure, such as dizziness or fainting
There also is a risk that adhesions could return.
What to Think About
This procedure is more likely to succeed if you follow your
doctor's instructions for postsurgery care.
A doctor needs special training to use a laser.
Other Places To Get Help
American Rhinologic Society
P.O. Box 495
Warwick, NY 10990-0495
The American Rhinologic Society is an organization for doctors who treat people with diseases of the nose and sinuses. Patients and other interested individuals can use this Web site to find information about diseases of the sinuses and nose. Doctors and other health professionals can use this Web site to learn about all ARS activities, including scientific meetings and abstracts.
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
1650 Diagonal Road
Alexandria, VA 22314-2857
The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck
Surgery (AAO-HNS) is the world's largest organization of physicians dedicated
to the care of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) disorders. Its Web site includes
information for the general public on ENT disorders.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.