Following major ear surgery such as tympanoplasty, mastoidectomy or stapedectomy, the ear canal and the space behind the ear drum will be packed with a sponge-like or dissolvable material, and often some antibiotic ointment. Expect a sense of fullness or hearing loss to be present for several weeks after surgery, as well as bloody drainage for several days. The plastic cup or ear dressing may be removed the day following surgery. There may be a cotton ball over the ear canal or a gauze behind the ear covering an incision, which can also be removed if present. DO NOT remove any packing seen inside the ear canal, though. Three days after surgery the incision may be gently cleaned with warm soapy water and pat dried. Apply a Vaseline coated cotton ball to the outer ear when bathing or showering for 6 weeks or until the surgeon says the ear drum is healed.
Typically the procedure isn’t severely painful, however there may be a need for pain medications for the first few days following surgery. Narcotic medications will often be prescribed by your physician, but plain Tylenol may be sufficient in many cases. Please avoid aspirin, Motrin, or naproxen for 7-10 days postop. Also, do not take 2 Tylenol and 2 of the prescribed pain medicine at the same time as the prescribed pain medicine usually has Tylenol in it, and that would be a double dose of Tylenol. The option of one Tylenol and one prescribed pain pill works well, though.
Some patients experience dizziness, nausea and even vomiting following surgery. This typically improves over the first 24 hours, but it may last a few days. If you have no dizziness initially but develop these symptoms several days or weeks after surgery, please notify your surgeon immediately. Similarly, any sudden decline in hearing after the first 48 hours of surgery should be reported. In the rare case that you are still vomiting after 48 hours, or if it is frequent and severe, you can call for a prescription that may help.
There are no dietary restrictions unless specified by your surgeon. Expect hearing to gradually improve in most cases in 4-6 weeks unless otherwise mentioned by your surgeon. Avoid flying, diving, or sudden pressure changes for 6 weeks after surgery.
For the first 2 weeks please strictly follow the following recommendations
- No blowing the nose.
- When sneezing, keep mouth wide open and sneeze out the mouth.
- If sneezing, take generic OTC Claritin one tablet QD or any other antihistamine.
- No physical or strenuous activity such as heavy lifting or organized athletics. If in doubt, keep your pulse < 100.
- No sudden or extreme movements of the head such as with jumping on a bed or playing basketball.
- Keep head and ear dry until first follow up appointment.