Patient Instructions – Postoperative Instructions for Ear Surgery

  • Patients who have received general anesthesia may experience some dizziness, nausea and occasionally, some vomiting. It is therefore advisable to eat a light diet or a liquid diet following your surgery. A regular diet may be resumed the day after surgery.

Wound Care:

  • You may have a large bandage around your head and over your ear. This bandage may be removed the day after surgery.
  • There will be a cotton ball just at the opening of your ear. Change that daily or as needed if it becomes saturated with fluid or blood. You may use a little antibiotic ointment to make the cotton ball stay in place. Do not remove any other packing in your ear.
  • The operated ear is usually packed with dissolvable packing that holds the eardrum and the repair in position while they heal. There will also be obvious blood. The ear will feel clogged, and you may hear crackling and popping sounds. You may not hear well out of the operated ear.
  • Thick, dark or bloody ear drainage is expected during the first week after surgery. You may gently clean around the ear with warm water or hydrogen peroxide on a Q-tip.
  • There may be an incision site behind your ear. Keep that area clean and dry. Clean the incision site twice a day using a Q-tip and peroxide and apply Bacitracin ointment for the first week.
  • Do not allow water to enter the operative ear. A Vaseline coated cotton ball may be placed in the ear to keep water out. You may need assistance with washing your hair.


  • No strenuous physical activity (exercising, etc) for 2 weeks.
  • You may return to work once off pain medication and cleared by the physician.
  • Sneeze or cough with your mouth open for 2 weeks after surgery to prevent damage to ear.
  • Try not to blow your nose for 2 weeks. If you have to blow, blow gently on one side at a time.
  • Do not strain while using the bathroom – you may need to use an over-the-counter stool softner.
  • You may have dizziness, taste disturbance or numbness to the outside of the ear. These symptoms usually disappear within a few weeks.
  • Do not swim or fly until the doctor says it is okay.


  • Take the pain medication as instructed. Do not take extra Tylenol while taking your pain medication, since your pain medication has Tylenol in it. Do not drive while taking your pain medication.
  • You may be prescribed antibiotics or ear drops that you should take only as instructed.


  • You will have a follow-up exam in 1-2 weeks. A formal hearing test will be obtained in the next few weeks as well.

Please call the office if you have excessive bleeding, sudden facial weakness or paralysis, fever greater than 102 F, repeated vomiting, severe dizziness, or severe ear or headache. Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions or problems.


Robert Wilson, MD.

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