Cochlear Implant Program | Post-Operative Care

Skin Care

  • Your child may have a sponge bath at home within the first five days. Your child can shower or have a bath after day five. Do not soak or submerge your child’s head during bathing or swimming for two weeks.
  • Your child will have a Steri-Strip® (and possibly a pressure dressing) on the incision site when the dressing is removed. Steri-Strips® are narrow pieces of special tape that keep the edges of the wound together. They do not need to be reapplied after discharge. If they begin to peel off, they should be trimmed with clean scissors and never peeled back like a bandage. If they or the stitches beneath them are causing discomfort, this will be addressed by your child's doctor at their follow-up appointment.
  • Your child will be prescribed seven days of oral antibiotics to prevent infection at the surgical site and should take all of the medicine. If your child experiences side effects from the medication, including rash, stomach upset, diarrhea, etc., you should call the Otolaryngology office for guidance about changing the dosing, duration or type of antibiotic.


  • Your child can return to her regular diet at home.


  • Once at home, your child does not need to stay in bed. She can walk and play quietly. Avoid any trauma or jolt to the ear.
  • Avoid touching incision sites and avoid any trauma to the ear.
  • All strenuous activity should be avoided for three to four weeks. Your child should avoid rough play, including gym and contact sports and avoid any trauma to the ear.
  • Do not let your child lift anything heavier than 10 pounds until approved by your child's doctor.
  • Your child’s doctor or nurse will let you know when your child is able to return to day care or school.


  • Your child may have some discomfort at home. Pain may cause your child to become irritable or to not eat well.
  • You may give your child acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (such as Motrin®) to help relieve the pain. Both are over-the-counter and come as a tablet, caplet or liquid. They are used to relieve mild to moderate pain and to reduce fever. It is very important that acetaminophen be taken exactly as directed by your doctor. Follow the directions on the package and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Be sure your child does not take more or less of it than prescribed by your doctor. Also, be sure your child does not take it any more often than prescribed by your doctor.
  • Try to schedule a dose of pain medicine around bedtime, especially for the first few days at home. This may help your child to sleep better.

Emotional Recovery

  • After the operation, your child may be tired or irritable. It is important that she rest.
  • Healing for each child is different. In time—usually about one month—your child will return to her usual mood and activity level.

Appointment Follow-up

  • Your child will need to see her doctor within two to six weeks of the operation. This varies from surgeon to surgeon.
  • Within three to four weeks after the surgery, your child will visit their surgeon to check the incision and make sure your child is healthy and healed enough to activate the cochlear implant.
  • Please confirm the follow-up appointment with the Cochlear Implant Team coordinator at 781-216-2250.
    • Call if your child:
    • has a fever higher than 100.5°F (taken under the arm)
    • has bleeding, redness, swelling or drainage at the ear
    • has pain or swelling or drainage of the ear
    • is not drinking liquids or is vomiting
    • is irritable and cannot be comforted

Numbers to Call

Call if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, call the Otolaryngology Nurse Line at 617-355-7147.
  • After 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on weekends and holidays, call the hospital page operator at 617-355-6369. Ask to speak with the Otolaryngology resident on call.