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


Before your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • You may be tested for seasonal allergies before your surgery. If you have seasonal allergies, you may need treatment before your surgery. Ask your caregiver for more information about seasonal allergies.
  • Your caregiver will look at the inside of your ear using an otoscope. Your caregiver may check your ear for infection. If you have an ear infection, you may be given antibiotic medicine to take before your surgery. Before surgery, you may need blood tests, hearing tests, an x-ray, and a CT scan. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

The night before your surgery:

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • You are taken to the room where your surgery will be done. You will be given anesthesia medicine to keep you asleep and free from pain during your surgery. Your caregiver will look inside your ear before cleaning it. An incision will be made behind or inside your ear. Your caregiver will monitor your facial nerve during surgery to protect it from injury. Your facial nerve controls the movements of your face. A small drill will be used to remove part or all of your mastoid bone and air cells. The amount of bone and tissue your caregiver removes will depend on the size of the diseased area. Your caregiver will clean out the area with saline fluid.
  • If your ear canal wall is removed, your caregiver may use a graft to rebuild it. The graft may be man-made, taken from another area of your body, or taken from a donor. A graft may also be used to repair or replace your eardrum. The graft may be secured with stitches or a sponge-like pad. A bandage soaked in a germ-killing paste may be put inside your ear to prevent infection. You may have a bandage over or around your ear. The bandage will help keep your wound clean and dry and help prevent infection.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are awake. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. Your caregiver will check your facial movements and the feeling in your face. Sounds may echo, or you may not hear well because of blood, fluid, or bandages in your ear. You will be given antibiotic medicine after your surgery to help prevent infection. Caregivers may also give you medicine to decrease or prevent nausea and vomiting. When caregivers see that you are okay, you may be able to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your room.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have new or increased ear drainage.
  • You have new or increased ear pain.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • The area behind your ear becomes red and swollen.
  • You have a severe headache that does not go away, even after you take medicine.
  • You have bad smelling ear drainage.
  • You have neck pain and confusion.
  • You have new or increased hearing loss.
  • You have sudden dizziness, or you begin to have poor balance.


  • During surgery, you may bleed more than expected. You may have damage to nearby tissue, bone, and nerves. Facial nerve damage may lead to facial nerve paralysis. You are also at risk for damage to your brain during surgery. If your inner ear needs to be removed, you will have permanent hearing loss. After surgery, you may have a dry mouth and changes in how things taste. You may have pain, dizziness, or get an infection. An infection may spread to other areas of your body, such as your spinal cord or brain. You may get tinnitus (ringing in your ears) and you may have short-term or permanent hearing loss. Even with surgery, all of the diseased areas may not be removed. Your ear disease may return, and you may need another surgery.
  • If you do not have the mastoidectomy, your ear damage or infection may get worse. You may have chronic ear drainage, and your eardrum may tear. You may have new or increased breakdown of your mastoid or ear bones. You may have chronic dizziness, loss of balance, and new or worsening hearing loss. An abnormal opening may form in your ear from one area to another. Your ear disease may lead to facial nerve damage and facial nerve paralysis. An ear infection may spread to your spinal cord or brain. This can be life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Mastoidectomy (Precare)

Micromedex® Care Notes