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Tympanomastoidectomy: Before Your Surgery

Anatomy of the ear and the middle ear

What is a tympanomastoidectomy?

A tympanomastoidectomy (say "tim-PAN-oh-mas-toyd-ECK-tuh-mee") is surgery to treat frequent ear infections that have damaged the eardrum and tissue in and near the ear. The doctor will remove the abnormal or infected tissue in the bony area behind the ear. This area is called the mastoid. The doctor will repair the eardrum. The doctor also may repair the three tiny bones in the middle ear that help with hearing.

You will get medicine to make you sleep during the surgery. You will not feel pain. The doctor will do the surgery through a cut (incision) behind your ear. When the doctor has finished the surgery, the incision will be closed with stitches.

You will probably go home on the same day as your surgery. Most people can go back to work or their normal routine in about 1 to 2 weeks. But if your job requires strenuous activity or heavy lifting, you may need to take more time off. Your doctor can help you decide when to go back to work.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions about when to bathe or shower before your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the surgery.
  • The surgery will take about 1 to 4 hours.
  • You will have ointment or gauze in your ear canal. Your doctor will take this out.
  • You may have strips of tape or a bandage over the incision behind your ear.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

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