Schedule an Appointment:(310) 204-4111

Ear Surgery – Pre & Post-Op Instructions

Mastoidectomy, Tympanoplasty, Endolymphatic Shunt

Pre-Operative Instructions

  • NO liquids (including water) or food after midnight prior to surgery.
  • If you use any medications on a regular basis, ask your doctor about their use prior to surgery. Routine medications may be taken with a small sip of water at least two (2) hours prior to surgery. Insulin dependent diabetics should call the day before surgery to speak with our anesthesiologist.
  • DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN OR ANY MEDICATION WITH ASPIRIN IN IT FOR TWO (2) WEEKS PRIOR TO SURGERY. ACETAMINOPHEN (TYLENOL) MAY BE USED INSTEAD. If you are taking medication for arthritis, ask your doctor about its use prior to surgery.
  • Do not wear jewelry (especially rings) or makeup.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing or a robe and slippers.
  • Do not bring valuables, cash, or jewelry on the day of surgery.
  • Notify your doctor if you notice any symptoms of illness during the week prior to surgery such as fever, runny nose, sore throat or cough.
  • Arrange with a family member or friend to drive you home after surgery. No one will be allowed to drive after a general anesthetic. We advise you to have someone stay with you the first night after surgery.

Post-Operative Instructions

  • Diet
    • In the immediate post-operative period, the patient may experience some vertigo, nausea or vomiting.  It is therefore preferable to stick to a liquid diet or a light bland meal.  A regular diet may be resumed the day after surgery.  It is not unusual to experience some earache on mastication and possibly, some difficulty in fully opening the mouth.
  • Wound Care
    • The operated ear is usually packed and full of blood. It will feel clogged and you may hear crackling sounds.  On the side of the operated ear, the temple and the region around the orbit (eye) may become a little swollen
    • If you have a dressing wrapped around the head or sutured behind the ear, please keep that dressing dry and avoid water at any cost.  In general, such a dressing is removed a couple of days after the surgery.  If you have a cotton ball in the ear, change it when it gets soaked and replace it with a clean cotton ball.   It is not necessary to use a band-aid or adhesive tape to hold the cotton ball.   Use a little antibiotic ointment to make the cotton ball stick.
    • Do not allow any water to enter the operated ear.  Protect the ear when showering or washing the hair with a cotton ball coated with Vaseline. It is a good idea to have someone help you with washing the scalp to avoid water.  When finished washing, remove the coated cotton, wipe the ear with a soft paper tissue and place a clean, dry cotton ball.  A little antibiotic ointment may help the cotton ball stick and stay in place. A shower cap provides extra protection.
    • Thick, dark or bloody ear drainage is expected during the first week after surgery. You may clean the crusting from the outer part of the ear with peroxide and Q-tips. Replace the cotton ball in the ear with a clean, dry piece when the current one is soiled. Occasionally, you may see brown or dark red pieces of packing (Gelfoam) extruding from the ear canal.  Do not attempt to replace them or to remove the remaining pieces that are still in the ear canal.
  • Do not blow your nose for at least two weeks from the day of surgery. Blowing can build excessive pressure in the operated ear and displace the reconstructed or grafted eardrum.
  • If you have to sneeze, please do it with your mouth wide open to avoid pressure build up in your ear.
  • When sleeping, try to sleep on the unoperated ear.
  • Medications
    • Antibiotics are usually prescribed; please take them as directed until they are all gone.
    • You may take pain medication as needed.  Pain medications cause drowsiness, somnolence, nausea and constipation.
    • Please refrain from driving, operating machinery or making important decisions when taking painkillers.

Please note the following

  • We do not refill painkillers over the phone.
  • We are unable to refill your medications on weekends or after hours.
  • For prescription refills, please call during office hours.
  • Monday-Friday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm


Contact our office and report any

  • Excessive headache, severe attacks of dizziness or vertigo or intractable vomiting
  • Temperature above 102 degrees
  • Facial paralysis (Inability to close the eye and crooked smile like in Bell’s Palsy)


  • If you have a wrap-around dressing or a dressing sutured behind the ear, please make an appointment in 2 to 3 days to have it removed.  Call (310) 204-4111 for an appointment.