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Are head bandages really required after middle-ear surgery? A systematic review

  • I Khan (a1), S Mohamad (a1), S Ansari (a1) and A Iyer (a1)



A systematic review was performed to evaluate the role and effectiveness of head bandages after routine elective middle-ear surgery.


Studies that compared the effectiveness of head bandage use after elective middle-ear surgery (e.g. myringoplasty, mastoidectomy and cochlear implantation) were identified using the following databases: Ovid Medline and Embase, the Ebsco collections, the Cochrane Library, PubMed, and Google Scholar. An initial search identified 71 articles. All titles and abstracts were reviewed. Thirteen relevant articles were inspected in more detail; of these, only five met the inclusion criteria. These included three randomised, controlled trials, one retrospective case series and one literature review.


The three randomised, controlled trials (level of evidence 1b) showed no statistically significant differences in post-operative outcomes (in terms of complications) associated with head bandage use in middle-ear surgery. This finding was supported by the retrospective case series involving patients undergoing cochlear implantation.


Current available evidence shows no advantage of head bandage use after middle-ear surgery. Head bandages may not be required after routine, uncomplicated middle-ear surgery.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mr Imran Khan, Ward 9, Monklands Hospital, Airdrie ML5 0JS, Scotland, UK E-mail:


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Presented at the 8th SAARC ENT Congress, 19–21 December 2013, Karachi, Pakistan, and at the 10th Annual National ENT Masterclass, 24–26 January 2014, London, UK.



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