Aural Atresia Repair in Children: What to Expect at Home
Your Child's Recovery
Aural atresia is the lack of an ear canal. In the surgery, the doctor made a new ear canal and fixed problems in your child's middle ear.
Your child may have ear pain for a few days after surgery. There may be good days and bad days. Older children may have less pain than younger children. Your child may feel dizzy for several hours after surgery. This is common.
Sometimes, surgery affects nerves in the face. Your child's doctor may treat this with medicines called corticosteroids. In some cases, a doctor may do surgery to fix the nerve.
Your child will feel tired for several days and then will slowly become more active. It should be okay for your child to go back to school or daycare within a week. Your child's hearing may improve after the surgery. But your child may still need a hearing aid if they were already using one.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each child recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as possible.
How can you care for your child at home?
- Have your child stay in bed for the first few days. When your child is ready, your child can begin playing again. Encourage quiet indoor play for the first 3 to 5 days.
- Your child will probably be able to go back to school or daycare within a week.
- For at least 2 weeks, or as long as your doctor recommends, do not let your child play hard. Take care that your child does not do anything that would turn them upside down, such as playing on monkey bars or doing somersaults. Also keep your child from sports, bike riding, jumping, or running until your doctor says it is okay.
- For about 7 days, keep your child away from crowds or people that you know have a cold or influenza (flu). This can help keep your child from getting an infection.
- Try to have your child avoid coughing, nose blowing, or throat clearing. Wipe their nose gently if needed. Tell your child to open their mouth when sneezing and to make a sound to prevent pressure buildup.
- Keep the ear covered during baths to keep water from getting in the ear for as long as your doctor recommends.
- Have your child drink plenty of fluids for the first 24 hours to avoid becoming dehydrated. Use clear fluids, such as water, apple juice, and flavoured ice pops.
- You may notice a change in your child's bowel habits right after surgery. This is common. If your child has not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, call your doctor or nurse advice line.
- Your doctor will tell you if and when your child can restart any medicines. The doctor will also give you instructions about your child taking any new medicines.
- Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, have your child take it as prescribed.
- If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
- If you think the pain medicine is making your child sick to the stomach:
- Give the medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
- Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
- If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, be sure your child takes them as directed. Your child should not stop taking them just because they feel better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
- If your child gets medicine for dizziness, be sure it's taken as directed.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your child has symptoms of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the area.
- Pus draining from the area.
- A fever.
- Your child has pain that does not get better after taking pain medicines.
- Your child bleeds through the bandage.
- Your child has new or worse vomiting.
- Your child cannot keep down fluids.
Watch closely for any changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
- Your child has drainage from the ear.
- Your child does not get better as expected.
Current as of: May 4, 2022