Otoplasty (Ear Surgery)
The night before, you should shower or bathe with the Hibiclens® soap you were given by the clinic nurse. If you were not given the soap, take your a shower or bath using an antibacterial soap (Dial®, etc). The shower or bath should take about 10 minutes and include washing around your ears for 2-3 minutes. When time permits, take a second shower or bath in the morning. Keep the Hibiclens® out of your eyes, ears, and genitals.
- Do not pull on your ears.
- What to expect
Throbbing, aching, swelling, bruising, and numbness may occur for a time. This may last 1-2 weeks. If both ears have surgery, the pain should be close to equal on both sides.
- Caring for the dressing
A bulky dressing will be wrapped around your head to cover your ears. Leave it on until your clinic visit. Do not shower or get the dressing wet. If it is very loose or very tight, call your doctor.
In 5-10 days, you will return to the clinic to have the dressing taken off. When it is first removed, the ears may seem to be overcorrected or too close to the head. This is normal. The ears will begin to take their new position within a few days.
After the dressing is removed, you should wear an athletic-type headband for 24 hours a day for the first two weeks and while you sleep for one more week. Please bring this headband with you to your first clinic visit.
- Caring for the sutures
There may be some drainage from the suture lines for 2-3 days. You should gently wash the suture line with soap and water each day. Do not pull your ears forward to clean them. With a Q-Tip , apply antibiotic ointment to the suture line two times each day. Keep cleaning the sutures with soap and water, and using the antibiotic ointment for 10 days.
Dissolvable sutures will absorb in 1-2 weeks. Non-dissolvable sutures will be removed in 10-14 days.
Avoid lifting more than 10-15 pounds for at least one month unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Avoid any activity where the ear(s) may be bent for about one month. You may resume strenuous activity and contact sports in 1-2 months, as directed by your doctor.
- Hair Washing
After your clinic visit, you may shampoo your hair. If you use a hair dryer, be sure it is on the cool setting.
Sleep with your head raised for 2-3 weeks. Avoid sleeping on the affected ear(s) for at least 2 weeks. Avoid putting any pressure on the ears.
Be careful when pulling clothing over your head not to injure your ears. You may prefer to wear shirts and blouses that button up the front. Do not wear any earrings for 3 weeks.
Glasses should be placed with care. Do not let your glasses rest on the suture line. Try to place them so they rest in the hairline.
- Work & School
Adults may return to work within 2-3 days if you feel strong enough. Avoid activity such as jogging, aerobics, and weight lifting for 1 week. Children may return to school within a few days, if careful about playground activity. They should avoid gym class until the surgeon tells you it is okay.
When to Call Your Doctor
- Bleeding from the incision or a blood clot forms in the ear.
- You have signs of infection such as increased warmth, swelling, or redness at the incision site or pus-like drainage.
- A temperature greater than 101.5°F for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart.
- Severe or increasing pain not relieved by medicine and rest, especially if it is unequal in both ears.
Please call if you have any questions or concerns.
Plastic Surgery Clinic, weekdays 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: (608) 263-7502
After hours, nights, weekends, and holidays, this number will be answered by the paging operator. Ask for the plastic surgery resident on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
Toll- number: (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: 07/29/2011
Copyright © 07/29/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6122
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