Your Care at Home After a Mastoidectomy
What is a Mastoidectomy?
A mastoidectomy is a surgery done on the temporal bone structures to remove the parts with chronic disease. This can also be done to gain access to problems deeper in the ear and skull.
What to Expect after Surgery
You can expect to return with a big dressing over your ear and head and an incision behind or above the ear. It is common to have a headache after ear surgery. It is also common to have numbness which may last for months. You may feel some pain or discomfort, so use your pain medicine as prescribed. You may have mild, blood-stained drainage from your ear and packing inside your ear canal. It is common to have some taste changes for a while. This will return to normal. You may or may not have stitches that will be removed in 7-12 days. The packing may dissolve or it may need to be removed.
What to Do After Surgery
- For the next 3 days, raise your head at least 30º when you lie down. Do not lie flat in bed (use at least 2 pillows ). It's best not to lie on the side of your treated ear until advised by your doctor.
- Avoid strenuous activity for 4 weeks or as your doctor advises. No jogging, aerobics, or lifting greater than 25 pounds during that time.
- Keep water out of your ear. This may be for 1-3 months. Use a cotton ball with lots of Vaseline® ointment to seal the ear when you take a shower. No swimming.
- If you have packing inside your ear canal, DO NOT remove it. You may hear noises such as cracking or popping. This is normal.
- Do not blow your nose for 1 week. After a week, if you must blow your nose, do it gently, one side at a time, to avoid pressure on your ears.
- For 1 week, sneeze or cough only with your mouth open.
- Check your wound for any signs of infection. Watch for redness, swelling, tenderness, warmth at the site, or any pus-like drainage.
- The incision behind your ear can be exposed to water after two days.
- Check with your doctor in regards to air travel. It is often about 6 weeks before you will be able to travel by air.
- Do not drive or drink alcohol while taking any pain pills.
When to Call Your Doctor
- Bleeding that soaks a gauze dressing in 10 minutes or less and continues to soak through dressings for one hour.
- Fever greater than 100.5° F by mouth.
- Pain that is not relieved by medication.
- Any signs of infection.
- Sudden dizzy feeling.
- Major changes in hearing.
- Weakness of the face or facial droop.
If you have any questions or problems once you are home, please call:
ENT Clinic at (608) 263-6190, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
After 5:00 p.m. or weekends, The clinic number will give you the paging operator. Ask for the ENT doctor on-call. Leave your name and telephone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #5372
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: 01/24/2011
Copyright © 01/24/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4850
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