The degree of disease and the extent of surgery will determine whether you will be able to go home the same day as surgery, or whether you will need to stay overnight.
In most cases a head bandage is placed that is removed the following day. If an incision is made behind the ear, dissolvable skin sutures are used, and are covered with steri-strips that stay intact for a couple of weeks. You can wash your hair 2 days following surgery.
The ear itself: most deeply a dissolvable dressing called gelfoam is placed. More externally a gauze covered in BIPP, a very strong yellow antiseptic is left for 2-3 weeks. The final dressing is simply a small piece of cotton wool. In the first few days this will need to be changed a number of times a day, due to a small amount of bloody ooze. The most important thing is to keep water from entering the ear. Covering the cotton wool with Vaseline will help with this water prevention. Additionally it will help prevent the BIPP gauze from sticking to the cotton ball and unravelling. If the BIPP gauze does start to unravel, gently attempt to push it back into the ear. It may require a small degree of trimming. Please let me know if there are any difficulties.
In general terms, gentle mobilisation is encouraged the same day as surgery. It is important to avoid bending over and straining, as well as vigorous exercise for the first week, as this can increase the risk of bleeding.
There is usually a mild-moderate degree of discomfort, especially if the ear canal has been widened; as it is very close to the jaw joint, chewing can be uncomfortable for the first few weeks.
With packing in the ear a degree of pressure is felt, and obviously you are left with a significant hearing loss until the packing is fully removed. Not infrequently patients sense a degree of tinnitus during this time.
After any ear surgery you can sense a degree of dizziness for the first week. Any severe spinning or rotational sensation is a warning to contact me.
The first post-operative visit is made 2-3 weeks after surgery, when the BIPP gauze is removed. Often a further gauze is inserted, or an ointment used to fill the ear canal until most of the bone of the ear canal has been recovered with skin.
Infection is uncommon, but any sign of discharge, especially malodorous, and if pain is worsening as opposed to improving gradually suggest this as a possibility.
The post-operative care is very important to optimise the success of surgery in most cases. Regular visits for the first couple of months are necessary, even on a weekly basis in some cases.
If you have any questions or problems please call us on 93805380 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org. If it is after hours the best number to call is 83821111, which is St Vincent’s Public Hospital and ask to speak to the ENT registrar. If it is urgent call my mobile phone.
In an emergency situation please make your way to the closest major hospital