Pre and Post-Operative Instructions for Your Ear Surgery

Please read these instructions before and after your surgery. Carefully following these guidelines will help you obtain the best possible result. Take this information with you on the day of surgery so you can begin following the instructions that day. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact the office. We want you to have a pleasant experience.

Preparing For Your Ear Surgery

  • Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, Vitamin E, herbal supplements, and medications containing these compounds, for two weeks before surgery. Acetaminophen (Tylenol or generic equivalent) and a daily multivitamin are fine.
  • Refrain from smoking two weeks before and two weeks after surgery. Nicotine and tobacco smoke delay healing and can result in scarring. This is the perfect time to give up the habit.
  • Avoid sun damage two weeks before surgery. While we recommend wearing a SPF 30 or higher, our physicians and staff wear a SPF 50 every day.
  • Your prescriptions for after surgery (typically antibiotic and pain medication) will be given to you the day of surgery.
  • Purchase the following non-prescription items:
    • Vaseline ointment
    • Soft Headband
  • Do not eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight, the night before your surgery.
  • Arrange for someone to take you home from the hospital. You will not be allowed to drive or leave alone. Arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Make arrangements to stay in the Kansas City area on the night of your surgery, if your live more than an hour drive away.

The Day Before Surgery

You may be given an approximate arrival time for your surgery at your clinic visit. On the day before the surgery, you will receive a call informing you of the exact time to report to the surgery center.

If your surgery is scheduled at KU MedWest, you can expect a phone call from the pre-op nurse several days before surgery. If you have not received a call by noon on the day before surgery, you may contact her/him at (913) 588-2279.

If your surgery is scheduled at KU Hospital, you will receive a call from the Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery Coordinator on the day before surgery. If you have not received a call by noon, please call her at (913) 588-6522.

The Day of Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything, including water, the morning of surgery. Essential medications may be taken with a sip of water.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes that fasten in front or back. Avoid slipover clothing.
  • Leave all valuables at home; do not wear jewelry.
  • Do not wear any facial or eye make-up. Avoid nail polish.
  • You may wear glasses but do not wear contact lenses.
  • If you wear dentures, keep them in.

Post-Operative Care

  • Keep your head elevated to minimize swelling. A recliner works well, or adding an extra pillow on your bed is adequate.
  • Expect to have a rather large head dressing. You may wash your face but keep the dressing dry. At the time of discharge you will receive instructions to come back into the office the following day for removal and replacement of the dressing. The replacement dressing will need to be left in place until your follow up visit in the office approximately 5 days after surgery.
  • After the dressing is removed, apply bacitracin ointment to the incision lines 3 times daily for 2-3 days.
  • You may gently shampoo your hair after the dressing is removed, being careful not to bend the ears
  • Use care not to bend or hit your ears when brushing or styling your hair.
  • You may wear your glasses but they should be taped up so they don’t rest on the incision.
  • There will be some areas of decreased sensation or numbness. The sensation will return to normal over time. Be careful to avoid burns when using curling irons, blow dryer, etc…
  • Wear the headband over your ears day and night for one week, and then just at night for an additional week.
  • Avoid extreme physical activity, including athletic activities and intercourse. You may resume light walking three days after surgery. Aerobic exercise, weight training, heavy lifting, and straining may be gradually resumed three weeks after surgery.
  • Children may return to school during the week following surgery, but must wear the headband at all times and should not participate in active sports or physical education classes.
  • Swimming is not allowed until 4-6 weeks after surgery.
  • Absolutely avoid sun exposure, sun lamps, or tanning beds for six weeks after surgery. While we recommend wearing a SPF 30 or higher, our physicians and staff wear a SPF 50 every day.
  • Don’t be concerned if the ears show some swelling – this usually resolves within 2 weeks. In certain patients, it may require a bit longer for all swelling subside.
  • Take only medications prescribed by your doctor.

DON’T TAKE CHANCES! If you are concerned about anything you consider significant, call us at our 24 hour number (913) 588-6701.