Postoperative Instructions Following BAHA Surgery

Director at CHC

Dr. Hammerschlag is on the board of directors and an active provider to the nonprofit, Center for Hearing and Communication, which has been been providing hearing care since 1904.

New York Super Doctor

Be sure to read these instructions carefully


  1. You will stay in the recovery room several hours following surgery, which can be performed under general or local anesthesia. The surgery should take about an hour. Adults have a one-stage procedure, while children under seven years of age generally have a two-stage procedure to allow for more time for bone to grow into the BAHA implanted fixture to anchor it more securely.
  2. You will be discharged to the care of a friend or family member following surgery. The hospital will not discharge you without a companion or family member. If you received local anesthesia with sedation, rather than general anesthesia, your stay in the recovery room may be much shorter.
  3. You may experience some nausea or dizziness in the recovery room. This usually arises from anesthesia and will pass over several hours. Anti-nausea medication will be given following surgery.
  4. A mild or moderate degree of discomfort is normal following surgery. Most patients have minimal pain and swelling after surgery. Some swelling is expected as soft tissue is removed around the area of the implant and this improves during the recovery period.
    You will feel tired and unsteady after general anesthesia – this is normal. Oozing from the wound and mild bruising of the skin around the ear and neck is also expected
  5. Persistent nausea and vomiting lasting more than 1 or 2 days may indicate a more serious condition; contact us as soon as possible.

    Avoid exertion, straining, or bending over. Slowly increase your activity levels as your strength returns. Limited activity is recommended for at least several weeks following surgery.

  6. You will go home with a cup (with a Velcro strap) or mastoid head dressing bandage covering the surgical site behind your ear. Do not remove this dressing for 48 hours. If it slips, replace it. After 48 hours, remove the dressing from behind the ear. Do not remove the plastic healing cap and the gauze underneath it. Your surgeon will remove this on your first postoperative visit.
  7. 8. After removing your cup dressing, begin using Vaseline to the surgical site around the gauze and white protective plastic cap. If some of the gauze dressing unravels, re-wrap or tuck it back under the white plastic cap.
  8. Use 1/2 strength hydrogen peroxide to loosen and clean off any dried blood around the wound. Remember, oozing from the surgical incision is usually normal. Brisk, uncontrollable bleeding is an emergency and a physician should be notified as soon as possible.
  9. Take your antibiotics, prescribed for 5 to 7 days. Your pain medications should be taken every 6 to 8 hours, as needed.
  10. You make take a shower and wash your hair two days following surgery. Before then, you can bathe or shower using a shower cap. Remember to gently clean the wound with soap and water and then gently dry the area.
  11. We will see you for your first visit after surgery approximately 12 to 14 days to remove or change your gauze dressing, depending on how the wound is healing.
  12. Once the white plastic healing cap and gauze is removed around the implant 2 weeks after surgery, it is very important to keep the wound clean with meticulous care using 1/2 strength hydrogen peroxide for crusts. Be sure to wash your hands before cleaning the incision/wound.
  13. About one month after surgery, you will be told that the skin around the BAHA abutment (post) can be cleaned with a soft toothbrush. Such gentle daily care is essential to minimize inflammatory tissue or local infection.
  14. If any of the following should occur, please call the office:
    1. Persistent or brisk bleeding (some oozing from the wound is normal and expected for the first few two or three days after surgery, but not active brisk bleeding).
    2. Persistent fever, more than 101 degrees F for more than one day
    3. Purulent drainage (pus) from ear or incision
    4. Redness with swelling around the suture line, after the healing cap and bandage have been removed.
    5. Persistent pain

Practice Announcement

Dr. Paul Hammerschlag has retired after a long and distinguished career. His friend and colleague, Dr. Darius Kohan, Associate Professor at NYU School of Medicine and Director of Otology/Neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and MEETH, will continue to manage his practice and provide continued care for his patients. Please contact his office at 1-212-472-1300 to schedule an appointment.

Please read Dr. Hammerschlags' full retirement and practice transfer announcement here.

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