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
What to Expect after Surgery
ξ You may feel some incision pain, ear
pressure or headache. For relief, use
your pain medicine as directed.
ξ Because your jaw is close to your
ear, you may have soreness or
stiffness when you move your jaw.
You may want to start with soft
ξ You may have some incision area
numbness which may last for
ξ You will have an incision behind or
above the affected ear.
ξ You will have a large cup like
dressing over the affected ear and
incision. Your doctor will tell you
when it may be removed. After the
gauze dressing is off, wear a cotton
ball in the bowl of your ear. This
may be changed as needed.
ξ You may have packing inside your
ear canal. The packing may dissolve
or it will be removed at your first
clinic visit after surgery. Dissolvable
packing may look dark red or black
on your cotton ball, this is normal.
ξ You may hear some popping or
crackling noises. This is normal.
ξ There may be blood-stained drainage
from your ear for a few days. Some
drainage may last for 1-2 weeks. If
you have had a “canal wall down”
procedure you may have more
drainage from your ear for up to 3
ξ Some people feel dizzy. This usually
will last only for about a week or so.
ξ You may have some taste changes
ξ The presence of the dressing, any
packing, or swelling may make it
harder to hear. Often, best hearing
may not be achieved for 3-6 months.
What to Do After Surgery
ξ If you have a Velcro type headband
holding your dressing in place, it
should be left in place the first night
after surgery, but it is OK to loosen
the band and reattach it if it feels too
ξ The incision behind your ear can get
wet after two days, but you must
keep water out of your ear until
advised by your doctor. This may be
for 1-3 months. When you shower,
put a Vaseline® covered cotton ball
in the bowl of your ear to seal the
canal and keep your ear canal dry.
ξ Use ear drops as directed by your
ξ If you have packing inside your ear
canal, do not remove it. You may
notice some packing material on the
cotton ball when you change it.
ξ For the next 48 hours, raise your
head at least 30º when you lie down.
Use at least 2 pillows. Do not lie on
the side of your treated ear.
ξ Avoid quick head movements.
ξ Avoid strenuous activity for 4 weeks
or as your doctor advises. No
jogging, aerobics, or lifting greater
than 25 pounds during that time. No
swimming for at least 2 months or
until your doctor advises.
ξ Do not blow your nose for 1 week.
After 1 week, if you must blow your
nose, do it gently one side at a time
to avoid pressure on your ears.
ξ For the first week, sneeze or cough
only with your mouth open.
ξ Check with your doctor about air
travel. It is often about 4-6 weeks
before you will be able to travel by
ξ Check your wound for any signs of
infection. Watch for redness,
swelling, increased pain or foul
smelling pus-like drainage.
ξ Do not drive or drink alcohol while
taking any pain pills.
When to Call Your Doctor
ξ Bleeding that soaks through 6 gauze
dressings or cotton balls in one hour
ξ Fever greater than 100.5 θ F by mouth
ξ Pain that is not relieved by
ξ Any signs of infection
ξ Sudden dizzy feeling
ξ A large decrease in your hearing
ξ Weakness of the face or facial droop
ENT Clinic: (608) 263-6190 Monday -
Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
After 5:00 pm or weekends, and holidays,
the clinic number will be answered by the
paging operator. Ask for the ENT doctor
on-call. Leave your name and phone
number with the area code. The doctor will
call you back shortly.
If you live out of the area, please call:
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #4850s.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have
any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not
medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health
needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If
you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 3/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority.
All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4850