June 12, 2015
The ears are very sensitive and something we use on a daily basis therefore recovery comes in stages. First immediately following surgery hearing might be more intense or it can be decreased due to bleeding in the ear drum. This fluid will subside after about a week. As this happens the ears will be quite sensitive to even the most normal and quiet of noises. In the first weeks heavy lifting should be avoided. The patient should not blow the nose or cough strenuously. Doing so could tear any stiches and cause further injury to the ear. Water should be avoided in the ears at all costs. Water can add to the already draining fluid and clog the ear completely which would cause great discomfort. It could also damage the healing process. In some cases this can cause infection and in severe cases can lead to a complete permanent loss of hearing.
In most normal occupations a week of bed rest is a good idea. But in cases where the patient is required to take on a heavy work load they might want to take off three weeks to be safe. Pain should be minor enough for over the counter pain medications but depending on the extent of the surgery a doctor might prescribe something stronger.
For the twenty four hours after surgery the ears will be bandaged with a garment and the bandages should be kept clean and dry. The ear or ears may appear larger in size due to swelling. This is normal and is to be expected. Water should be avoided. If the doctor allows the hair to be washed they will give further detailed instructions on how to do this. To prevent water from entering the ears a cotton ball soaked in Vaseline can usually be inserted into the ear. However this should not be done unless told by the doctor. In some cases the doctor might not want anything placed in the ear until they have seen how the healing has been going.
After the twenty four to seventy two hours the patient will need to wear a head band over the ear as much as possible. The swelling should begin to go down at this point. Most patients can return to work between three days and a week. This is on case by case basis. It is good to remember that there could still be swelling and even your hair style can affect the amount of pain you might experience. At this point hearing should be returning to normal but might still be overpowering and in some cases the patient may not be comfortable in social situations because of the noise volumes.
It is important to remember that swelling can continue for up to three months so you shouldn’t be alarmed if you still have some swelling. Your doctor will let you know about the progress of your healing in your follow up appointment. At this point they will tell you what you can and can’t do and what to expect.
Dr. Amjadi MD, DDS, FACS
Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons
915 Gessner Rd #870
Houston, TX 77024
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