19 things I bought from Amazon to prepare for my deviated septum surgery

deviated septum products

  • Whether your nose surgery is cosmetic or functional, a smooth recovery requires some preparation.
  • Supportive pillows, mini ice packs, and straws were just a couple of things that made my life a lot easier after my septoplasty.
  • Here are 19 items you should have handy before your deviated septum surgery or nose job so that you won't need to leave your house for anything.

There's a yoga breathing technique meant to induce clarity and mindfulness called alternate nostril breathing. You cover one nostril while taking deep breaths and then, you guessed it, you alternate. The first time I tried this out, I was extremely confused. "This is meant to be relaxing?? You can BREATHE like that??" The issue I had quickly run into: I was barely able to breathe through one of my nostrils - a problem I had never encountered directly before.

Before this, I had no idea that I was taking in less breath than other people. Turns out, I had a deviated septum, which meant that the airflow through my nose was obstructed on one side. These are fairly common and can be congenital or caused by a traumatic face injury - probably the latter in my case given that I ever so gracefully face-planted into a brick fireplace when I was a kid. After consulting with a friend who had her own deviated septum surgically corrected, I decided to have mine taken care of sooner rather than later.

I wanted to make sure my face wouldn't look different after surgery so I decided to go with Dr. Matthew White, a double-board certified facial plastic surgeon based in NYC. When having a septoplasty (a repositioning of the septum), many people opt to simultaneously have a rhinoplasty (a reshaping of the nose) performed. As Dr. White explained to me, "If they are getting surgery for breathing issues, they figure why not improve the appearance at the same time. They are right - it is easier to do all of the surgery in one setting and not divide it into two procedures. Anytime you have to go back and do a secondary surgery, wound healing is always more complicated." While I did not opt for the nose job, I did heed the advice to take care of everything at once and I also had a turbinate reduction and a nasal valve repair to fix various other breathing issues I was experiencing.

Knowing that I would be totally wiped out from anesthesia and pain medication, I wanted to be as prepared as possible for post-surgery - I did NOT want to get stuck needing to run out to any stores.

Here are 19 things I bought from Amazon to prepare for my deviated septum surgery:

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A pillow wedge

A pillow wedge
Bed Wedge Pillow with Memory Foam Top, $42.97, at Amazon

My doctor wanted me to sleep on my back and keep my head elevated at a 45-degree angle to minimize swelling. As a side sleeper, I was nervous about being uncomfortable and fidgeting all night if I just propped up a couple of pillows, so I bought this pillow wedge instead. The memory foam was so comfortable and definitely worth the investment; it will come in handy if I get a cold!

A lightweight, zip-up hoodie

A lightweight, zip-up hoodie
Sofra Women's Thin Cotton Zip-Up Hoodie Jacket, from $9.17, at Amazon

I was told to avoid pulling clothes over my head for a few days after surgery, so I mostly wore zip-up sweatshirts. The weather was getting warmer and I didn't want to overheat, so I wore thin hoodies like this one.

Cozy sweatpants

Cozy sweatpants
Hanes Women's Midrise Cinch-Bottom Fleece Sweatpant, from $6.75, at Amazon

I wanted to up my cozy game so I bought myself to a new pair of sweatpants. These cost less than $10 and I like that they don't have a drawstring.

Lip balm

Lip balm
Aquaphor Lip Repair Ointment, $3.97, at Amazon

Since the swelling makes you unable to breathe through your nose post-surgery, you end up doing a whole lot of mouth-breathing — day and night. This made my lips constantly super dry. I did not need more discomfort in my life, so I carried this lip balm in my pocket at all times.

A humidifier

A humidifier
LEVOIT Cool Mist Humidifier, $35.99, at Amazon

This humidifier worked really well for keeping my nasal passages from getting too dry after surgery. I was also waking up with a lot of throat pain from sleeping with my mouth open all night so keeping the air humid was key.

I hadn't thought to buy a humidifier before surgery, but I quickly purchased one in a late-night haze on day three of recovery; it definitely helped and I wish I had it earlier.

Read more: The best humidifiers you can buy

Saline nasal spray

Saline nasal spray
Simply Saline Adult Nasal Spray Mist, $7.29, at Amazon

Keeping your nasal passages clean and hydrated after surgery is vital, and saline nasal spray is key for that. I had a splint inside my nose for the first week after surgery to keep my septum straight. The splint removal is an uncomfortable process and can be a lot more painful if you don't follow your after-care instructions. Once my splint was removed, I continued to use this spray to keep my nose hydrated and avoid nose bleeds.

A tub of Aquaphor

A tub of Aquaphor
Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $12.34, at Amazon

I applied Aquaphor with a Q-Tip to my nasal passages in the morning and at night to keep my nose moist.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide Antiseptic Solution, $6.67, at Amazon

I was advised to clean my nose in the morning and at night using hydrogen peroxide and a Q-Tip.

Afrin nasal spray

Afrin nasal spray
Afrin 12-Hour Decongestant Nasal Spray, $6.69, at Amazon

My doctor recommended using Afrin for nasal stuffiness. I didn't love how it made my nose feel, but this spray definitely helped relieve some congestion.

Mini ice packs

Mini ice packs
IceWraps Reusable Gel Ice Packs With Cloth Backing (5-pack), $12.99, at Amazon

These ice packs were great because there were enough included that I could easily swap for a fresh, frozen ice pack when the one I was using thawed. Having multiple also meant I could be lazy and not return ice packs back to the freezer right away.

I also liked that these ice packs were small enough that they only covered my nose and didn't make the rest of my face cold.

A gel eye mask

A gel eye mask
Kimkoo Gel Eye Mask, $7.97, at Amazon

I didn't have much swelling near my eyes, but I used the mask to calm my itchy eyes since rubbing so close to my nose proved to be a dangerous game.

I like this mask because it has eye holes and also because you put it in the refrigerator instead of the freezer, giving you a cooling, calming sensation rather than an ice cold, numbing feeling.

Bromelain capsules

Bromelain capsules
NOW Bromelain Supplements, $8.62, at Amazon

Bromelain is supposed to help with swelling. I honestly don't know if taking these made a difference, but I was willing to try anything and everything to heal quickly.

Arnica gel and pellets

Arnica gel and pellets
Boiron Arnica Montana Tubes, $10.44, at Amazon Boiron Arnicare Gel, $7.83, at Amazon

Arnica is an herbal remedy for bruising. I didn't wind up trying these because I didn't experience bruising — which is usually more prevalent after a rhinoplasty, not a septoplasty. I was happy to have these handy just in case.

Tylenol Extra Strength

Tylenol Extra Strength
Tylenol Extra Strength (100 caplets), $9.47, at Amazon

For pain management, I wanted to avoid relying solely on the painkillers I was prescribed because they were a narcotic. Since my doctor instructed me not to take any aspirin-containing products or any other NSAIDs, I stocked up on Tylenol Extra Strength to pull me through the first week after surgery.

Stool softener

Stool softener
Basic Care Stool Softener, $5.55, at Amazon

Both anesthesia and painkillers can be a constipant. I generally don't have digestion issues, but I wanted to be sure I had this available in case I ran into any issues!

Blotting papers

Blotting papers
Natural Green Tea Oil Absorbing Tissues, $6.95, at Amazon

For a few days following surgery, your nose will get super oily. Blotting papers were really effective for making me feel less gross and allowed me to gently remove the oil without having to touch my nose too much.

Facial-cleansing pads

Facial-cleansing pads
Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Facial Cleansing Pads with Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment, $6.37, at Amazon

My nose was so tender that I wasn't able to properly wash my face or continue my daily skin-care routine. I wanted to feel clean and avoid skin problems, so I used cleansing pads in order to be careful around my nose.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen Lotion, $14.34, at Amazon

Your nose will be sensitive to sun for a couple of weeks post-surgery; if you get sunburned, then it could cause swelling and slow down the healing. Make sure you're protecting your skin!

Straws

Straws
Kitchen Up Big Silicone Straws (6-pack), $8.95, at Amazon

If it wasn't clear at this point, keeping hydrated is super important for a quick recovery. To avoid bumping your sensitive nose on cups, use straws.

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