Post-Op Care for Tympanotomy with Ear Tubes and Adenoidectomy

  1. The recovery from ear tube surgery is generally brief and well tolerated.  Most patients will have no significant discomfort, acting and feeling normal within hours of the procedure.

  2. Please use the antibiotic ear drops as given or prescribed, 3-4 drops in each operated ear, 3 times a day for 3 days.  Keep the ear drop medicine in a cool, dark place until it expires, as it may be used to treat future infections in the unlikely event they occur.

  3. You may commonly see drainage from the ears for several days, and this may be bloody.  This is quite normal and should not be alarming unless it persists more than 5 days or is accompanied by increasing pain.

  4. Children may commonly pull at or gesture towards their ears for some weeks after the operation.  This is generally because the are continuing a learned behavior from when their ears hurt them, or because they are irritated by the much louder environment they experience when their hearing improves after the operation.  In either case, the behavior will decrease and stop with time.  It rarely indicates infection.

  5. An actual ear infection is usually easy to identify following ear tube surgery, because a discolored and/or foul-smelling discharge will be found in the ear canal or on clothing or sheets since it comes out directly through the ear tube into the ear canal.  Please call Dr. Wilson if this should occur.

  6. There are often questions regarding water exposure.  Note that only a minority of patients will experience complications from casual water exposure (splashing in a bathtub or swimming at the surface of a pool) so Dr. Wilson does not recommend any special water precautions, unless the patient experiences drainage or pain within 24 hours of such exposure.  Please call him if this occurs.  Note that lakes are probably riskier than swimming pools, and that swimming under the water or diving is NOT recommended.

  7. Bleeding can occur in 5-7% of adenoidectomy patients.  This must be reported immediately to Dr. Wilson.  It may come from the nose, the mouth, or be vomited or coughed up.  Depending upon the situation Dr. Wilson may recommend this be observed at home or in the emergency room.  In a small number of cases this may require treatment in the emergency or operating room.  The patient should not be more than 20 minutes from the hospital for the first ten days.  The most likely time for bleeding is within 24 hours after the operation, although it may occur at any time.  Do not panic – call Dr. Wilson or 911.

  8. Since moisture helps soothe the healing throat, a room humidifier (hot or cold) is suggested when the patient is sleeping.

  9. The adenoid tissue is at the back of the nose and upper throat; healing is improved and foul odor reduced by flushing, spraying or dripping salt water (saline) into the nose every 3-4 hours.  Saline can be purchased or made at home (1/4 teaspoon rock/sea/kosher/pickling salt in 8 oz or 1 cup water).  Each rinse should be one flush with a bulb syringe, 2 or 3 sprays with mist, or 10-20 drops from an eyedropper.

  10. If there are questions or problems you may contact Dr. Wilson at cell #616-405-6956.