Pressure dressings in mastoid and middle ear surgery: are they necessary? A retrospective review of patient outcomes.

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The application of mastoid pressure dressings following mastoid and middle ear surgery is widely practised to reduce the risk of haematoma and seroma. There are a number of minor morbidities associated with use of the dressings, as well as a financial cost associated with an overnight stay in hospital or a return appointment for removal of the dressings. The benefit of having these dressings in situ overnight is questionable.


A retrospective review of 133 patients who had their mastoid dressing removed 2 h after their procedure was undertaken at our Hospital. The patient records were scanned for procedure-related morbidities, and perioperative data were analysed.


No haematomas or seromas occurred in any of the 133 patients studied. Minor morbidities associated with prolonged use of mastoid pressure dressings were avoided.


Removal of mastoid pressure dressings 2 h following ear surgery is safe and effective. Furthermore, a mastoid dressing should not be a factor in the decision as to whether to treat a patient as a day case or overnight admission.

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