This leaflet contains some information and instructions which you should follow after major ear surgery
- After any type of surgery (especially if it is under general anaesthetic) you may feel tired, sleepy and disorientated, that is why is not advisable to drive or operate machinery within 48 hours after (legally your driving insurance company may not cover you in the event of an accident)
What dressing and stitches do I have?
- During the operation dressings will be placed in the ear canal and a cotton wool ball placed on the outside
- If you have a cut behind your ear, it will be sewn up with stitches under the skin that will dissolve and do not need to be removed
- The cut will be covered with sticky paper strips, which you can peel off 1 week after your operation or can be removed at the first appointment 2 -3 weeks after surgery
What may I notice after the operation?
Following ear surgery you may experience the following symptoms:
- Noises in the ears (ringing, buzzing, humming, squelching noises), which may be new, or louder if they were present before the operation
- Mild dizziness (spinning sensation)
- Changes in the taste (usually metallic taste)
- Hearing loss and muffled hearing (like under water)
- Oozing from the operated ear (blood-stained discharge)
- Occasional sharp shooting pains (you may need a few days of pain killers)
Most of these symptoms will settle within a few days, occasionally they can be persistent for weeks or longer
What do I do with the ear drops?
To speed recovery and prevent complications after some ear operations, you may have been prescribed ear drops to apply to the dressing in the ear canal:
- First take off the cotton wool if present
- Then apply 2-3 drops in the ear canal while lying on your side with the operated ear up
- Do not touch the dressing deep in the ear
- Replace with a fresh cotton wool ball afterwards
- The drops are used twice a day until the dressings are removed
When can I wash my hair or get my ear wet?
- Do not get the skin wound wet for three days, including hair washing
- After that you can remove the covering paper strips, wash it and dry it
- Remember to keep the ear canal dry at all times
- When you shower take out the dry cotton wool plug and replace it with another one smeared with Vaseline
- When you have finished washing, throw away the Vaseline plug and replace with dry cotton wool
What follow up will I need?
- In general you will have an appointment 2-3 weeks after your operation to have the dressings removed
- You will need to contact the office to make the appointment
- Several appointments may be required to ensure the ear heals properly
- About 3 months post operatively you will have a hearing test
Other information that may apply to me
- If part of your operation involved repair or replacement of your bones of hearing, then you should avoid any vigorous head movements for 4 weeks
How long do I need to take off work?
- 2 weeks should be sufficient for most circumstances
When can I fly?
- Generally air travel is fine 6 weeks after major ear surgery
When can I swim?
- Most ear surgery heals fully within 3 months however people vary in their speed of healing
- Ask at your appointments when it is safe to swim