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Cochlear implant: Discharge instructions

What can I expect after surgery?

After having cochlear implant surgery, your child:

  • will wear a dressing over the implant area
  • may be off-balance or dizzy
  • may have ringing in the ear
  • may experience mild to moderate pain
  • won't have to have the stitches removed—they're absorbable and dissolve on their own

It is normal for the ear to stand out from the head due to swelling. It will return to its normal position within a few weeks after surgery. Your child may also have swelling spread into the temple or around the eye on the side of surgery.

It is also normal to have blood come out the nose and down the throat. This comes from the ear and will resolve in 1 to 2 weeks.

Moderate dizziness lasts for a few days. Imbalance can take a few weeks to completely resolve.

How should I care for my child?

Dressing Care

A dressing called a mastoid dressing will be placed at the end of surgery. This dressing is white and held in place with a special stretchy tape. The dressing will be removed the day after surgery and will be replaced with a neoprene headband that will be given to you in the recovery area. The dressing should remain in place for a total of 5 days, removing briefly twice daily to place ointment on the incision.


Bathing: The incision should be kept dry for 1 week after surgery. It is OK to shower as long as the incision is kept dry.

What can my child eat?

Your child can go back to his or her regular diet. If your child has a sore throat, offer cool liquids and soft foods.

How active can my child be?

Your child may resume non-strenuous activity as soon he or she feels ready. Strenuous sports and rough play should be avoided for 2 weeks after surgery.

What else do I need to know?

See your Patient Discharge Summary sheet for specific instructions about pain medicines and when to see the surgeon again.

When should I call the doctor?

  • temperature higher than 102° F (38.9°C)
  • increasing swelling, pain, or redness around the area after the first 48 hours
  • bleeding from or around the scalp incision


This sheet is not specific to your child, but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the clinic.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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