What can I expect after a tympanoplasty or mastoidectomy?
Your child may have some bloody drainage form the ear itself or the area behind the ear.
Your child will experience some decreased hearing following the surgery due to packing in the ear, ointment or blood in the ear canal. This usually improves after the packing is removed or dissolves. The dissolvable packing will take 1-2 months to completely dissolve. Depending upon the extent of your child’s surgery a second procedure may be required.
Low-grade fevers are common after surgery. Your child may run a fever for several days after surgery. If the fever remains over 102 and is not improving 30-45 minutes after ibuprofen (Motrin) or Lortab (pain medication) please call the office. It is important that children drink plenty of fluids after surgery. This will not only make them feel better, but will reduce the chance of fevers.
Your child may experience ringing in the operated ear, and/or numbness behind the ear for 3-6 months.
Your child may have pain inside or behind the ear for about 5 days. Tylenol or Lortab should be given for pain. If your doctor prescribes pain medication, please be aware that most pain medications also contain acetaminophen (Tylenol).
You should not give pain medication and Tylenol to your child in the same 4-hour period.
Do not use aspirin products as these can increase the chance of bleeding after surgery.
Your child may have an elastic headband/dressing that is secured over the ear. Leave it in place until instructed to remove it. Call the doctor if bleeding from the ear soaks through the bandage
The headband should be removed after 1-2 days or as instructed. Change cotton and apply drops to the sponge in the ear. Pad the ear with gauze sponges. Then reapply the Velcro wrap for another 24 hours.
After the first 2-3 days, your child may wear the wrap only at night. Be careful not to fold the ear under the strap as it can be painful.
There will probably be some yellow or bloody drainage from the ear for a day or two after the surgery. Your child may have a cotton ball placed in the ear canal. During the next few days, you can change the cotton ball when it gets bloody.
Do not touch or remove any packing inside the ear canal other than the cotton ball, your doctor will remove this. If the packing starts to come out of the ear canal, DO NOT attempt to push the packing back into the ear canal.
Your child may resume normal activities around the home as soon as they feel up to it
Quiet activities for 7 days. School can be started in 3 days if patient feels well and is no longer needing pain med. No sustained physical activity (sports, running, heavy lifting, swimming, P.E. class, bounce houses, trampolines, etc…) for 7 days after surgery. If your child underwent reconstruction of the middle ear bones (ossicles), your surgeon may require a much long period of time without sports (sustained activities).
If there is an incision behind the ear it should be kept dry for the first 5 days after surgery.
The ear canal and contents of the ear canal should be kept dry for 8 weeks after surgery. No swimming. An ear plug should NOT be used; this will push pressure down the ear canal and disrupt the surgical repair of the ear drum. To keep water out of the ear during bathes and showers, coat an entire cotton ball with Vaseline and place in the bowl shaped part of the ear. Then hold a sandwich bag over the cotton ball and ear while washing the hair.
No flying or trips that involve a significant change of elevation for 8 weeks after surgery.