The Need for a Better Patient Experience After Surgery

Nasal surgery, whether for cosmetic and/or reconstructive purposes to correct the consequences of injury and/or improve breathing, and sinus surgery typically will have some compromise in the nasal airway, in the immediate post-operative period. Whether the nose is “ packed” with some tampon, a gauze-like material or even a gel or ointment, it is not likely the airflow will be optimal.

Being wary of patient dissatisfaction, many surgeons do not pack the nose.

Other surgeons value the medical benefits of packing the nose. Yet, “packing”, for better or worse, has gained notoriety and unpopularity because it compromises breathing and no patient likes that.

Surgeons who believe in the value of packing the nose cite the following reasons:

  • To maintain manipulated/ repositioned/ reconstructed elements in the proper and anatomically correct positions during the immediate post-operative period and for the next several days as nature begins the healing and repair process.
  • To reduce the chance of bleeding, the interior of the nose is richly supplied with blood vessels.  Proper packing is the classical means to reduce the chance of bleeding by effectively tamponading the hollow nasal passages. Bleeding can be a serious complication; patients have lost a considerable portion of their blood volume from a nasal bleed. Fatalities have even occurred.
  • To act as a carrier for medications that the surgeon may choose to instill during surgery, e.g. antibiotics, steroids.
  • To act as a conduit for medications to be employed topically after surgery, e.g. nasal drops to reduce bleeding and/or relieve congestion. The packing carries the medicine into the nasal interior via capillary action.

This Device Improves Patient Comfort and Satisfaction

The post-operative period after nasal and sinus surgery has had that “bad press” for decades. For some, the lack of normal nasal air flow induces anxiety, claustrophobia. The obligatory mouth-breathing causes a dry throat and discomfort. The breath can become unsavory, malodorous. Smell, critical to the enjoyment of food, is compromised. “It’s no fun” is the common refrain.

While pain is generally not severe, and can be controlled with medication, clogged breathing is universally unpopular. Fearing the displeasure of nasal blockage after surgery, some patients defer or reject, out-of-hand, the opportunity to have a very successful, once-in-a-lifetime surgery. The chance to improve symptoms of allergy and prevent significant complications such as sinus infection, besides preventing snoring and compromising smell and taste is lost.

Even if no packing is placed, the nasal passages generally clog .Because of the after-surgery internal nasal swelling and the presence of stitches, absorbable or removable, mucus tends to congregate. So does clotted blood.

Since “blowing” the nose after surgery is generally forbidden, for fear of inciting bleeding, either the patient soldiers along by trying to somehow clear the passages, perhaps with some water or salt solution. Some patients require extra office visits in the first several days to have the office staff suction the nasal passages.

The Reltok Clear-Flo™ Nasal Airway is the patient’s best friend after surgery because it provides clear nasal passages and erases patient anxiety, claustrophobia and the clogged ears and dry throat which detract from the satisfaction of a successful surgery. Whether the surgeon has packed the nose or not, with the airway device painlessly in place, the patient is content and appreciates the surgeon’s efforts in providing an optimal post-operative experience.