Caring for Your Child after Tympanoplasty
What is a tympanoplasty?
This involves many types of surgery that may be done on the eardrum or the space behind the eardrum. It most often involves the placement of a tissue patch to help close a hole in the eardrum. Damage to the ear may have been due to congenital problems, infection, trauma, or other disease.
What to Expect
- Your child may feel some pain. For relief, use pain medicine as ordered.
- There may be blood-stained drainage from your child’s ear for up to 2 weeks.
- Your child may have a small incision behind, in front of, or above the ear.
- Your child may have a gauze dressing over his ear. Your child’s doctor will tell you when it may be removed. After the dressing is off, your child can wear a cotton ball in his ear as long as drainage continues. This may be changed as needed. Once the ear is no longer draining, stop using the cotton ball.
- Your child may have packing in his ear that will need to be removed by the doctor. the doctor will tell you this after surgery.
- Your child may complain of decreased hearing in the surgical ear for up to several weeks after surgery. As packing material dissolves, he may complain of a "popping" sensation or fluctuation of hearing.
- Your child may feel dizzy for about a week or so.
- Some taste changes are common.
- Because the jaw is close to the ear, your child may have soreness or stiffness in jaw movement. This will go away.
- Restless, disturbed sleep or nightmares may occur for a couple of weeks after you go home.
What to Do
- For the next 48 hours, raise your child’s head at least 30º when she lies down if this makes her more comfortable. You may use at least 2 pillows to achieve the 30º. Try not to have your child lie on the side of the treated ear.
- Your child should avoid quick head movements.
- Avoid heavy activity 1 - 4 weeks after surgery, aas advised by your doctor.
- No sports, swimming, or lifting greater than 25 pounds during this time.
- If your child has an incision behind the ear, it can get wet after two days, but water must be kept out of the ear canal opening until advised by your doctor. When showering, use a Vaseline® covered cotton ball to keep your child’s ear canal dry. Clean any incision as advised by your doctor.
- Use any prescribed ear drops for the amount of time instructed by your doctor. Call the pediatric otolaryngology clinic if there are concerns related to ear drop use
- Your child should not blow his nose for 1 week. After 1 week, if your child must blow his nose, do it gently one side at a time to avoid pressure in the ears.
- Your child should sneeze and cough with his mouth open for 1 week to avoid high pressure in the ears.
- Check with your doctor cleared to fly.
- Do not allow your child to drive (if old enough) while taking any pain medicine.
When to Call
- If your child has excessive bleeding (bleeding that soaks gauze dressing in 10 minutes or less for one hour).
- If your child has a fever greater than 101º F by mouth or 100º F under the arm.
- If there is sudden dizziness.
- If there is a large change in hearing.
- If there is any swelling, increased redness, increased pain, or drainage from the incision.
Your child will be scheduled to return to the ENT clinic in 4 weeks to see your doctor, perhaps sooner if packing removal s necessary. Your child will have a repeat hearing test sometime in the future. The doctor will talk with you about your child’s progress and answer any questions you may have.
UW Health Pediatric Otolaryngology (ENT) Clinic at (608) 265-7760 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 pm.
After clinic hours, weekends or holidays, call (608) 262-0486. Ask for the ENT doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will return your call.
If outside Madison, call toll free at 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/20/2013
Copyright © 05/20/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5421
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