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Exostoses - Ear Surgery


Exostosesare bony lumps that form in the outer ear. They are very common in surfers and swimmers so cold water or cold air is implicated in their formation.


Surgical removal – ie “drill out”

Usual Process

  • General anaesthetic.
  • Day Case or overnight stay.
  • The ear will be plugged with antiseptic gauze for approximately two weeks.
  • It takes six weeks (at least) to heal so no swimming until instructed by your doctor.
  • Pain should be mild.
  • There may be an incision in front or behind the ear.

    Discharge Advice
  • Your ear must be kept clean and dry.
  • You must not get the ear knocked or banged post-operatively.
  • Keep reasonably quiet.  Sport and swimming ARE NOT PERMITTED.
  • Panadol and stronger pain medications to be given for pain or discomfort of the ear.


  • There may be some discharge from the ear, usually clear or slightly bloodstained, and it may have an antiseptic smell.  Any pus discharge or nasty smell from the ear must be checked by a doctor.
  • The outer cotton wool may be changed, but the inner packing MUST NOT be touched.  If the inner packing falls out do no panic because there are usually several small packs in place.  Simply cut off the piece that is poking out and leave the rest alone.

The Wound

Self-dissolving stitches are often used.  Keep the wound clean and dry.  It is good idea to place a small amount of Vaseline or similar agent over the incision line.  The earcan be washed but keep the water off and out of the ear by placing a cup over theear if possible.  If you wear glasses, the ear piece may need padding or be temporarily removed.

Return to Work

An appointment is usually made two weeks following surgery.  Most people can return to work after a few days.  However, no swimming or sport is allowed.

Follow Up

The ear usually takes 6 weeks –3 months to heal completely.  You will be given an initial appointment 2 weeks after surgery and then 4 weeks after that appointment.

*See discharge advice after MAJOR ear surgery.

If you have any concerns after discharge, please call our rooms on 9388 7474.


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