Your Care After a Tympanomastoidectomy

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

Following your surgery

Remove head-ear bandage the morning after surgery. Change cotton in outer ear as needed for drainage.

  1. NO water in the ear.
    Two days after your surgery you can wash your hair if the ear canal packing is in place. Before then, you can use a shower cap.
    To avoid water in the ear, you may use Vaseline and cotton in the outer ear. Precaution should be followed for one week.
    Change the cotton in the outer ear canal whenever necessary, making certain your hands and the cotton are clean. Some drainage is normal and this decreases over 1-2 weeks.
  2. Do not blow your nose for two weeks following surgery. You can "sniff" and sneeze with your mouth open.
  3. Activity Restrictions:
    No heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for three weeks.
    You may drive if you are not having any dizziness.
    No flying for two weeks following surgery.


You will probably receive an antibiotic with instructions when you are discharged from the hospital. Please take all your medication for the full period, seven to ten days, as instructed. After the first postoperative office visit one week after, you may be told to start using combination antibiotic steroid ear drops. Please apply to operated ear canal, as instructed, until Dr. Hammerschlag tells you to stop (sometimes, several weeks). You may also take Tylenol (acetaminophen) for discomfort.


At the time of surgery, packing will be placed in your ear canal. In many cases, absorbable packing will be used. This type of packing dissolves in several weeks with the continued use of prescribed drops. You should change the cotton in the outer ear since you may continue to have a small amount of drainage from the ear for several weeks after surgery.

If non-absorbable gauze packing is used, it will be removed in the office two – three weeks after surgery. If the gauze strips come out of the ear canal with the outer cotton changes, gently reinsert the gauze strips back into the ear canal with a Q tip. You should change the cotton in the outer ear since you may continue to have a small amount of drainage from the ear for several weeks after surgery.

During this time, you will notice diminished hearing in the operated ear. After the packing is removed it may take some time for your hearing to reach its improved level. Therefore, a postoperative hearing test may not be performed until six weeks after surgery.

You may notice a temporary change in your sense of taste following surgery since the nerve that supplies the tongue may be disturbed during surgery.

Postoperative office visits:

Please set up an appointment to see the Dr. Hammerschlag one week after surgery. At that time, he will examine you and remove sutures if indicated. You may be started on topical ear drops as noted above.

Future visits will be specified at that time. Please note that cholesteatoma (and chronic otitis media) require continued monitoring every 6-12 months after surgery as indicated by your doctor, unless specifically told otherwise.

Suture removal:

The sutures or stainless steel staples will be removed in approximately one week following surgery. After the sutures/staples are removed, you may cleanse the incision with soap and water (dry well). Unless otherwise instructed, it will not be necessary to reapply a dressing to the incision.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, notify us immediately:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Diminution, fluctuations, or distortion in hearing after the packing is removed.
  • Constant ear pain and/or drainage after the packing is removed.

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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