1. Nasal packing may cause discomfort for the patient, including a sensation of pain especially while placing and removing them, breathing difficulty due to a reduction in nasal airflow, increased nasal secretions, and an impaired sense of smell.
2. Nasal packing may cause damage to the endonasal tissues due to the pressure. It can cause superficial tissue damage which heals well on its own but it may also cause granulations (Pyogenic Granuloma) which carry the risk of bleeding. Also, excessive periods of pressure, especially with improper applying of nose tampons, may cause necrosis of the nasal tissues that can even reach the bony nasal structures.
3. Nasal packing may cause foreign body reactions which manifest as fibrosis of the basal and propria lamina and loss of superficial nasal epithelium.
4. A posterior dislocation of the nasal packing may occur if the nose tampons are not secured properly during placement. This complication is very dangerous as it carries a risk of obstruction of the larynx or trachea, so it is very important to warn the patient of it and teach them how to react if it happens.
5. Nasal packing may worsen the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, which is a common medical condition among the elderly and the obese.
6. Nasal packing may cause a temporary eustachian tube dysfunction, which can cause many symptoms like changes in hearing, fullness in the ears, and tinnitus.
7. Nasal packing, especially those made of latex, may cause allergic reaction, but this complication can be prevented by using one of the many latex-free nasal packing available.
8. Nasal packing can, though rarely, cause bacterial infections. But one of the most feared complication is toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which is a systemic condition that can lead to death due to septic shock. This condition is characterized by high fever, muscle pain, diffuse erythema, vomiting, diarrhea, tachycardia, and tachypnea, and it’s a result of a staphylococcal infection.