What to Expect After BAHA Surgery
Above: This BAHA, placed behind a deaf left ear, can transmit vibrational energy to the normal functioning cochlea on the right side to improve sound localization and to enhance sound and speech perception. (Image modified, courtesy of Cochlear Corp.)Most patients have minimal pain and swelling after surgery. Some swelling is expected as soft tissue is removed around the area of the implant and this improves during the recovery period.
Once the white plastic healing cap and gauze is removed around the implant 2 weeks after surgery, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to keep the wound clean with meticulous care using 1/2 strength hydrogen peroxide and vaseline.
- You will stay in the recovery room several hours following surgery. A friend or family member will drive you home following surgery. Under no circumstances should you drive home alone. If you received local anesthesia with sedation, rather than general anesthesia, your stay in the recovery room may be much shorter.
- You may experience some nausea or dizziness in the recovery room. This usually arises from anesthesia and will pass over several hours. Anti-nausea medication will be given following surgery.
- A mild or moderate degree of discomfort is normal following surgery. You will feel tired and unsteady after general anesthesia - this is normal. Oozing from the wound and mild bruising of the skin around the ear and neck is also expected - provided that is not brisk and there is no significant swelling or massive bruising of the skin over the surgical wound.
- Persistent nausea and vomiting lasting more than 1 or 2 days may indicate a more serious condition; contact us as soon as possible. Contact us for any excessive bleeding (some oozing is NORMAL), worsening pain, or a fever over 101 degrees that does not get better.
- Avoid exertion, straining, or bending over. Slowly increase your activity levels as your strength returns. I recommend limited activity for at least several weeks following surgery.
- You will go home with a cup dressing covering the surgical site behind your ear. Do not remove this dressing for 48 hours. If it slips, replace it. After 48 hours, removed the dressing from behind the ear.
- After removing your cup dressing, begin using vaseline to the surgical site around the gauze and white protective plastic cap. If some of the gauze dressing unravels, re-wrap or tuck it back around the white plastic cap.
- Use 1/2 strength hydrogen peroxide to loosen and clean off any dried blood around the wound. Remember, oozing from the surgical incision is usually normal. Brisk, uncontrollable bleeding is an emergency and a physician should be notified as soon as possible.
- Take your antibiotics, prescribed for 5 to 7 days. Your pain medications should be taken every 6 to 8 hours, as needed.
- You make take a shower and wash your hair 3 days following surgery. Remember to gently clean the wound with soap and water and then dry the area. Apply vaseline over the wound.
- GOOD LUCK! We will see you for your first visit after surgery approximately 7 to 10 days to change your gauze dressing.
In case of emergency, call the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at 617-523-7900 and ask for the otolaryngologist on call.
If you had surgery performed at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, please call 617-525-6530.