Minimally Invasive Skull Base Surgery Postoperative Care Instructions

Minimally invasive skull base surgery is done to remove tumors of the nose, sinuses and brain in a way that minimizes patient discomfort and brain manipulation. We perform the procedure using lighted telescopes and special instruments that allow us to treat areas that were normally reached with facial incisions. These surgeries are done together with neurosurgery and patients are able to leave the hospital in a shorter period of time.  

After Skull Base Surgery Care

Surgical Site: A small drip pad may be needed under the nose for the first few days.  If you have an incision inside the mouth (your physician will inform you if this is present), avoid brushing your teeth in this area. These stitches are dissolvable. If you have an incision under the eyebrow, keep the area dry for 5 days. You may shower, but avoid direct water contact to the area and pat the incision dry gently. 

Sleeping: Please sleep with the head on two elevated pillows to decrease nasal congestion and bleeding from the nose. If you have been prescribed a CPAP machine, do not use until your doctor says it is safe; sleep in a recliner chair with your head elevated in the meantime.

Activity:  Minimize your activities with only light activity for the first week following surgery. Listen to your body! If you feel tired over the first few days, you should rest.  No nose blowing, stooping, straining or heavy lifting of more than two bags of groceries. Sneeze with your mouth open.

Diet: Resume a healthy, balanced, normal diet as you feel up to it.If you have a mouth incision, chew on the opposite side and gargle with warm water after all meals.

Bleeding: A drip of blood from the nose and into the back of the throat is normal for the first two days following surgery. 

Nasal congestion, fullness, facial pain, headache, and disrupted sleep are normal for the first week and are an expected part of the healing process. This will improve after the first office visit about one week following surgery.

Driving: Do not drive within 24 hours of receiving anesthesia. Do not drive while taking prescription pain medication as it may impair your driving.

Medications:  Resume your home medications that are not blood thinners.  Do not take any aspirin containing products or blood thinners until told to by your surgeon.  Do not take any intranasal sprays other than saline until told to by your surgeon. 

Pain:  For mild to moderate pain use over the counter Tylenol (Acetaminophen) as per the instructions on the bottle.  Do not take Aleve or ibuprofen.  For severe pain take your pain medicine prescription as directed.

Do not drive, operate dangerous machinery, or do anything dangerous if you are taking narcotic pain medication (such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, etc.) This medication affects your reflexes and responses, just like alcohol.

Antibiotics: You will be prescribed antibiotics for 7-10 days.

Call Your Surgeon If You Have…

  1. Any concerns, we would much rather that you call your surgeon then worry at home, or get into trouble.
  2. Any vision changes, pain inside eye or swelling of eye.
  3. Continuous clear fluid from nose (not irrigation fluid).
  4. Fever greater than 101.4 degrees.
  5. Heavy or prolonged bright red blood and clots from the nose and mouth.
  6. Severe headache and/or neck stiffness.

How to Call Your Surgeon

  1. If it is urgent due to bleeding or difficulty breathing, call 911 or go directly to the closest emergency room without calling ahead.
  2. If it is not urgent, please try to call the Rhinology office during clinic hours of 9 am to 5 pm, Monday-Friday.  If you need to speak with someone after 5 pm or on a weekend, call the Rhinology office and the answering service will contact the doctor on-call to call you back.


Office Number

Patrick Colley

(212) 979-4200

Anthony Del Signore

(212) 844-8450

Satish Govindaraj

(212) 241-9410

Alfred Marc Iloreta

(212) 241-9410

Madeleine Schaberg

(646) 943-7931

Edward Shin

(212) 979-4200

** Please call during office hours (9am – 5pm) for questions related to appointments, prescription refills and lab results. **

Postoperative Appointments

You will have important follow-up appointments starting about one week following surgery. The number of these visits will be determined by your doctor.  If you do not have an appointment, please call your physician’s office.