After common ear surgeries, there are some general instructions given by ENT specialists that ensure a fast recovery and minimal pain. After the surgery, due to packing in the ear there can be decreased hearing. The full recovery after the surgery can take up to 3-5 weeks. 

Common Symptoms That Occur After Eardrum Surgery

Immediately after the surgery, there can be symptoms that the patient is likely to experience. 

  • Pain around the wound that can alleviate with time or might even last for two weeks.
  • Numbness around the incision and ear that gradually improves with time
  • Some abnormal sounds inside the ear such as clicking, popping, pulsing, ringing or other sounds
  • Soreness around the lips, eyelids and shoulders 
  • Pain in jaw, neck or throat
  • Headaches and fatigue 

Wound Care After Tympanoplasty

In order to alleviate the above list of symptoms, one has to be careful while tending to the wound. Here’s what to do-

  • Every time before dressing the wound, ensure that you wash hands properly. Similarly, after attending to the wound, wash your hands.
  • According to the ENT doctor’s instructions, remove the head dressing and gauze. In addition to this, follow the instructions on how many times dressing needs to be done.
  • Don’t get worked up if you see ear drainage (blood, brown, pink, yellow, black or clear fluid). Simply, put cotton in the ear canal to soak up the drainage and change it once it is fully soaked. 
  • Do not intentionally remove the ear packing. However, if it falls naturally then don’t put it back.
  • Put eardrops directly to the ear packing.
  • After one week of the surgery, remove the tape covering the incision area.
  • If surgical glue is used to close up the wound, let it dry and fall off on its own.
  • For dissolvable stitches, let them dissolve on their own. 

Pain management After Tympanoplasty

Earache can be severe after a tympanoplasty. Try the following measures to get some relief– 

  • Unless your doctor instructs otherwise, you can start your home medication.
  • Follow word-to-word of the instructions on the prescription related to wound care, frequency and dosage of ear drops
  • For pain relief, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Take fiber and stool softeners to lower constipation and thereby pain management.
  • For nausea and vomiting, take prescribed anti-nausea medicines. 
  • Although in rare cases, there can sometimes be severe pain near the wound. In such cases, take prescription narcotics. However, beware of side effects such as deprived sleep, low blood pressure, skin rash, itching, constipation, nausea and difficulty while urinating. 

Showering After Tympanoplasty

There are no problems in taking a shower after the surgery only if done properly. Here are few things one needs to beware of-

  • Make sure that the ear canal is ALWAYS dry.
  • Only 48 hours after the eardrum surgery, take a shower or bathe. However, ensure that you do not soak yourself or scrub the wound thoroughly.
  • If accidentally water gets inside the ear, just dab it dry with a towel but don’t put anything inside the ear.
  • After showering, dry the incisions immediately and apply moisturizer or the prescribed antibiotic ointment over incisions. If the incision is covered by tape, do not apply anything. Once it falls off, then only apply the ointment or lotion. 
  • In the outer ear, place a cotton ball coated with Vaseline. 

Activities To Avoid After Tympanoplasty

Similar to any other surgery, there is a set of instructions that the patients need to follow diligently for a speedy recovery and lower the risk of complications.

  • To lower the risk of bleeding, avoid lifting heavy weights or straining excessively in the initial two weeks of the recovery.
  • Before returning to work or traveling, consult with your doctor to check if it’s safe or not. 
  • While sitting on the toilet, don’t strain excessively.
  • Avoid blowing your nose as much as possible.
  • In the first days or the first week of the recovery, take extreme caution while driving, walking, and showering as you may feel or dizzy or imbalance

Diet and Nutrition After Tympanoplasty

There are no major restrictions on food and nutrition after an eardrum surgery. There are only two things that the patient should look out for-

  • Consume a balanced diet along with drinking lots of water
  • There can be a sense of loss of taste for the initial days which cures on its own within weeks to months. 

When To Call The Doctor?

Usually, there is some discomfort, dizziness, noises inside the ear, and little bleeding in the first week of recovery after eardrum surgery. However, if you have any of the following signs throughout the recovery period then seek medical attention without fail-

  • Lots of fluid discharge or bleeding from the ear. The discharge has an odor.
  • Severe pain that can be cured with painkillers
  • A feeling of dizziness that does not improve over time
  • Ear is red, swollen and itchy 
  • Fever greater than 101.5 F
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing food or fluid
  • Chest pain
  • Headache with neck stiffness
  • Feeling of nausea and vomiting

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