Health Library Explorer
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A-Z Listings Contact Us

Discharge Instructions for Mastoidectomy

You had a procedure called mastoidectomy. This is the surgical removal of the mastoid bone, a bone you can feel behind the ear. Your healthcare provider may do this procedure if your mastoid bone is infected or to remove growths from the middle ear. Here’s what you need to know about home care after surgery.

What to expect

  • Expect a small amount of drainage from the ear.

  • Don’t worry if the skin of your outer ear is numb. This is a result of the surgery. The feeling should return within a few months.

Ear and incision care

  • Keep your head slightly raised (elevated) for the first 24 hours after you go home.

  • Don't do anything that makes your ears pop. Don’t blow your nose or breathe out with your nose held closed.

  • Sneeze with your mouth open.

  • Shower as needed, starting 3 days after your surgery, or as directed by your healthcare provider. You may allow water to run across any outside wounds, but don’t scrub them.

  • Keep the ear dry. You can place a cotton ball dabbed with a small amount of petroleum jelly in the outer ear to keep water out during a bath or shower.

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed.


  • Don't do any activities that include heavy lifting and straining.

  • Get your healthcare provider’s permission before flying in a plane or swimming.

  • Ask your provider when you may go back to work. There may be special considerations depending on the type of work you do.

Follow-up care

Make follow-up appointments as directed by our staff. Your ear has special packing material in it. Parts of this material may need to be removed at specific times.

When to get medical care

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • More redness or swelling around the ear

  • Dizziness or disorientation

  • Foul-smelling drainage from the ear or the incision

  • Persistent headache

  • Double vision or blurred vision

  • Fever of 100.4°F ( 38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Bleeding bright red blood

  • Trouble swallowing

  • Facial droop

Online Medical Reviewer: Ashutosh Kacker MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2022
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
The health content and information on this site is made possible through the generous support of the Haspel Education Fund.
StayWell Disclaimer