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A mastoidectomy is a surgery to remove part of the mastoid bone just behind your ear.



  • Antibiotics: This medicine helps fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Take them as directed.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
  • Ear drops: These help decrease swelling and prevent infection. Use as directed.
  • Antihistamines: This medicine helps prevent allergy symptoms. Antihistamines may help prevent dizziness, nausea, or vomiting .
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return to have your ear checked and your bandage removed. You may also need to have your hearing checked. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

Do not remove your bandage unless your primary healthcare provider (PHP) tells you to. Ask your PHP how to care for your wound after surgery.

  • Remove and replace cotton balls: You may need to remove and replace the cotton balls that were placed in your ear after surgery.
  • Keep your wound clean and dry: Do not let water get into your ear for 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. You may be able to wash your hair 2 to 3 days after your surgery. You may need to put a cotton ball covered with petroleum jelly in your ear when you shower. If your wound gets wet, gently pat it dry. Change your bandages any time they get wet or dirty.

How to use ear drops:

Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you use ear drops. This helps prevent infection. Do the following:

  • Remove any cotton balls in your ear. Lie down on your side with your ear facing up. For children, gently pull the bottom of the ear down and back. This helps to open the ear canal. For adults, gently pull the top of your ear up and back towards the back of your head.
  • With your other hand, carefully drip the prescribed number of ear drops in your ear. Gently press on the front part of your ear (ear flap) to help the ear drops stay in your ear. Gently move the outside part of your ear back and forth to help the medicine reach your ear canal. Stay lying down in the same position (with your ear facing up) for 3 to 5 minutes.


  • Do not blow your nose: If you have an eardrum graft, try not to blow your nose for 2 to 3 weeks. If you need to blow your nose, gently blow one side at a time. When you sneeze or cough, keep your mouth open.
  • Prevent falls: Sit down immediately if you feel dizzy. Ask someone to help you move rugs or other items in your home that you may trip on. It may help to have another person close by when you walk or climb stairs.
  • Rest when you feel it is needed: Slowly start to do more each day. Avoid activities where you need to bend over at the waist. Avoid lifting heavy items for 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. Return to your daily activities as directed.
  • Manage hearing loss: After surgery, you may hear popping and cracking sounds for 3 to 5 weeks. This is normal, and the sounds usually go away with time. You may also have short-term or permanent hearing loss after surgery. To hear people more easily, turn off noisy devices in your home, such as the radio. Ask people to face you when they speak. Ask about hearing aids to help improve your hearing.
  • Do not fly: Do not travel by plane for at least 3 weeks after your surgery. Ask when it will be safe for you to fly.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have new or increased dizziness.
  • You feel fullness or pressure in your ear.
  • Your wound is red and swollen.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have pus or foul-smelling drainage coming from your ear.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have hearing loss that is worse than before your surgery.
  • You have sharp ear pain that spreads to your face or jaw.
  • You have trouble moving or feeling areas of your face.
  • Your mouth droops on the side where you had surgery.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.