Surgical Risks and Postoperative Instructions
Risks of Surgery (tympanoplasty, ossicular chain reconstruction, or tympanoplasty with mastoidectomy)
- An eardrum perforation may occur if the eardrum does not heal properly.
- The cholesteatoma or ear infection can come back.
- Further hearing loss happens less than 10% of the time. Total deafness is extremely uncommon.
- Injury to the facial nerve that runs through the ear can cause facial paralysis. This too is extremely uncommon.
- Loss of sense of taste on the side of the tongue may occur. It is usually only a minor inconvenience for a few weeks.
- Persistent postoperative dizziness or ringing in the ear may happen, but both are quite uncommon.
- All of these above risks can happen even if you do not have surgery.
- Untreated infection or cholesteatoma of the ear can have serious consequences.
- If you have a head bandage on, make sure it is not squeezing your head too tight. You should be able to slide a finger underneath it. The bandage should be removed 24 hours after surgery. You may then begin to bathe and wash your hair gently with shampoo.
- Begin using the antibiotic eardrops the day after surgery (three drops in the ear twice a day). These drops will dissolve the packing that is in your ear. Tip your head to the side when using them to allow them to get into your ear.
- Bloody, watery, or oily discharge from the ear is normal for several weeks after surgery. You may leave a dry cotton ball in your ear to prevent drainage if you like.
- Do not get water in your ear until your doctor has told you that your ear is healed. This usually takes 1-3 months. You should put a cotton ball moistened with Vaseline in your ear when you bathe.
- Do not blow your nose. The pressure may blow open the repair. It is OK to perform light work the day after surgery, but do not do any straining or heavy lifting until your ear has healed.
- You may expect to have mild dizziness when you turn your head for a few days after surgery.
- Most people like to take at least 1-2 days off of work or school after surgery. Some feel like returning the day after surgery; some prefer a week off.
For inquiries or more information, please contact:
Otology, Neurotology, and Skull Base Surgery
Bobby R. Alford Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, NA102
Houston, TX 77030
Adult Clinic: 713-798-3200
Academic Office: 713-798-5118
Additional information on tympanic membrane, middle ear and mastoid disease