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Cambridge Hospital

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370 922
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Your sinuses have a drain hole that leads into your nose. If this hole becomes blocked it may cause a sinus infection.

What happens during antral washout?

Antral washout can be performed under general or local anaesthetic. The bone between your sinus and the inside of your nose is very thin. Your surgeon will pass a very fine metal tube into your nose through this thin bone. They will flush the area with sterile saline solution to get rid of any infection and open the drain hole. They may send a sample of the flushed solution to a lab for analysis. If the drain hole is badly blocked they may enlarge the drain to ensure infection can drain away easily. The metal tube is removed. Since the inside of your nose heals very quickly there is no need for stitches.

Antral washout is usually performed as a day case meaning you can go home the day of the procedure.

Going home after antral washout

Please arrange for someone to drive you home when you are discharged.

Any pain or discomfort can be controlled by taking over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol. Be sure you take any antibiotics and use any nasal sprays as prescribed.

Avoid blowing your nose for the first 48 hours after your washout. Avoid any strenuous activity for at least 2 days as there is a risk of nose bleed. You can resume sports such as swimming or diving in about 2 weeks. Discuss any return to work with your consultant.

Most people recover well from antral washout. As with any procedures there may be complications. 

General complications may include:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Specific complications of antral washout may include:

  • Nose bleed
  • Return of infection