Stapedectomy

My Ear Right After Surgery

I had a stapedectomy on January 9, 2008. Here is the story of my diagnosis, surgery with fortunately no complications, and the major hearing improvement.

So far I think the hearing is very good with some tinnitus in the operated ear. But I am very curious if I am slowly developing any otosclerosis in the other ear.

I finally had a follow-up hearing test in August 2014 scroll down or click here to see it. I sent the results to the doctor, and he is pleased that the results are holding out well.

The background information that I previously posted is here:

If you want to see a diagram and detailed description of the middle ear go to this Wikipedia page.

Disclaimer: The information I am giving here should not be interpreted as medical advice. I am not a doctor. The story below is just my experience told for anyone who is interested.

In 2005 I discovered I had a hearing problem. I was listening to music through headphones, and it seemed to me that one side was not working right: the sound was too quiet in one ear. So I swapped the right and left headphones and determined that one of my ears was not working right. Then I went to see an Otolaryngologist (ENT – ear, nose, and throat specialist) who diagnosed otosclerosis of the right ear.

audiogram-before

The doctor told me that otosclerosis is a progressive disease and the only proven, effective treatment is surgery. In late 2007 I decided to get the surgery done. At the time I was living in Kuwait; having the surgery done locally was not an option. On top of that, my medical insurance did not cover the surgery as it is deemed the otosclerosis to be a pre-existing condition.

I found out after the surgery that my insurance covers pre-existing conditions, but not for non-emergency treatments in the United States. I assumed I was going to be paying for the surgery.

Having to cover the cost of the surgery myself was both good and bad. It was my money getting spent, but I had the freedom to choose where in the world I could go for the surgery. My research into the procedure showed that the successful outcome of stapedectomy surgery is mostly dependent on the number of previous operations the surgeon has performed.

I checked out whatever I could find online, plus I contacted the surgeon in Canada who made the original diagnosis. The surgeon was not able to accommodate me probably because as a non-resident of Canada I had no Government medical insurance coverage in Canada.

I also looked into various medical tourism places in India and Thailand and determined that they do not do stapedectomies. They do other procedures such as hips, knees, and hearts. I did get one response from a surgeon in Chennai, India who said he would do it for less than $2000, but I was not comfortable with trying this option. I also checked out one place in Europe but got no response.

I approached the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles, California and they were very responsive. I sent them copies of my hearing exams, and they confirmed the need for a stapedectomy. Dr. Jose Fayad phoned me from LA while I was in Kuwait, to discuss the operation. He said if I had to fly home immediately after the surgery, I could, even the next day and have follow-up elsewhere. I was not keen on this. I planned to stay for three weeks after the surgery for any follow-up.

I was an avid SCUBA diver, and Dr. Fayad had good news: he said I could SCUBA dive after successful surgery as long as I practiced good equalization techniques. Note: Please check with your doctor before deciding to SCUBA dive. I take no responsibility for your results. Do note that even flying after a stapedectomy can put a strain on the ear if you are overly congested and can’t equalize on the descent.

The clinic was quite flexible about the dates for the surgery which was good because I had to juggle many commitments to make time for the surgery. Finally, my operation was booked for January 9, 2008.

The House Clinic does the operation under local anesthesia. It is also done elsewhere, depending on the surgeon and local surgical practices, under a general anesthetic.

Dr. Fayad said a major disadvantage of the general anesthetic is that an airway tube is inserted into the throat to ensure the patient can breathe. After the surgery removing this tube often causes coughing which stresses the ear. Coughing should be avoided after a stapedectomy. Also, an advantage of the local anesthetic is that the surgeon can check the placement of the prosthesis during surgery by asking the patient if they can hear. This obviously can’t be done with someone under general anesthesia.

As of March 2015, Dr. Fayad is no longer at the House Ear Clinic. I checked directly with the clinic, and they do not have any contact information for him.

View House Ear Institute in a larger map

The total cost which included the surgeon’s fee and the hospital cost was about $9000 US. Fortunately, I had friends in the area that I could stay with, so I didn’t have hotel costs. The only other costs were car rental and the flights to and from Los Angeles.

I was Emailed forms to fill out before arriving at the clinic. They also sent me a list of potential side effects which they are obliged to inform the patients about. They assured me that the side effects are rare.

  1. Taste disturbance and mouth dryness are not uncommon for a few weeks following surgery in some cases prolonged.
  2. There may be further loss of hearing in up to 2% of cases. Up to 1% may have severe loss and may prevent the use of an aid in the operated ear. Should the hearing be worse following stapedectomy tinnitus may be pronounced.
  3. A perforation in the eardrum develops in less than 1% of cases and is usually is due to an infection and may heal spontaneously. If healing does not occur surgical repair may be required.
  4. A very rare complication of stapedectomy is temporary weakness of the face. This may occur as the result of an abnormality or swelling of the facial nerve.

Upon arrival in Los Angeles, I went to the House Clinic for my pre-surgery appointment. There I reviewed the paperwork, had a hearing test and met Dr. Fayad. They advised the following post-operative instructions.

  1. Do not blow your nose and do not pop your ears by holding your nose. If it is necessary to sneeze do so with the mouth open.
  2. Do not allow water to enter the ear until advised by the doctor. They recommend lambs wool or cotton placed in the outer ear opening covered with Vaseline. I purchased some silicone ear plugs which I used instead (disclaimer, take you own chances, if they leak it isn’t my fault). They are putty-like, and you can mold them into the outer ear without inserting them into the ear. They worked with no leaks, though I have short hair and washed my hair very carefully trying to get minimal water on my ear.
  3. Do not take any unnecessary chance of catching a cold. Avoid undue exposure or fatigue. I feel this should not be overlooked. I felt very good after the surgery and probably overdid it a little the day after, as I did some driving around doing some shopping and felt quite fatigued by the end of the day. I think a full day or two of quiet rest would have been better to speed the recovery.
  4. Do not have dental work requiring drilling of the teeth until three weeks after surgery.
  5. You may anticipate pulsation, popping, clicking and a feeling of fullness or occasional sharp shooting pains. You may feel as if there is liquid is in the ear. I had some of this, but it was not too annoying, and there was no pain.
  6. Do not plan to drive a car home from the hospital. In fact, they won’t let you drive home, somebody has to get you. And they will not let you take a taxi alone.
  7. Patients often experience dizziness, with nausea and vomiting. Some unsteadiness is common during the first few days but should subside in a week. There may be brief dizziness on sudden head motion or in bending. I had none.
  8. You may notice some hearing gain at the time of surgery, but in the next few hours, normal post-operative swelling will reduce your hearing. Exactly what I experienced.
  9. The maximum improvement in hearing occurs at four months. I did not feel any change at four months. My hearing a month after the surgery was good and has stayed the same.
  10. The cotton ball in the ear canal should be changed daily and as needed when bleeding occurs. Some bleeding is normal. If the ball has to be changed more than four times in a day, you should notify the doctor. I had no bleeding.
  11. A slight water discharge is normal for a week after surgery. If discharge lasts longer or is yellow (infected) contact the doctor. I had none.
  12. There may occasionally be shooting pain. You should not have continual pain. There was no pain.
  13. Four days before the three-week post-operative appointment put a few drops of baby oil in the ear canal twice daily to soften any encrustation. Allow oil to remain five minutes. I didn’t do this. And I should have. Read on.

I went to the clinic the day before the pre-surgery appointment. The photograph below is the hospital across the street from the clinic.

St. Vincent Medical Center

Dr. Fayad explained the procedure. He said there is just one time during the procedure when he is drilling through the footplate of the stapes (oval window) into the inner ear, when I absolutely should not move. The doctor said he would tell me before he starts drilling. He also said it would be very loud when he does the drilling.

I received my final pre-surgical advice, nothing to eat or drink after midnight. So the next morning I started the day very early because I was supposed to be at the hospital by 6:00 a.m.

I took a wrong turn on the freeway on the way to the hospital but managed to find my way without a GPS. I arrived early at the hospital and parked. I feared there would incur massive parking charges because I could not find any street parking. Then later I found out that with a paper from the nurse the parking would be free.

So the time had come.

They asked me to take off all clothes and jewelry (better leave it at home) and put on a hospital gown. I laid down and rested while they started an IV. The nurse couldn’t find any veins in my elbow, so I got the IV in the top of my hand which isn’t the most comfortable spot. But it was well done, and I had only a mild discomfort. In fact, it turned out to be the only real, but minor, discomfort during the whole procedure. They said the IV was to keep me hydrated and was also used later for the sedative. They took a small vial of blood from which they used a drop to seal off the piston of the prosthesis where it goes through the oval window into the inner ear.

I was wheeled upstairs into the pre-operative room and got some Versed (I think about 1 mg) which is a like super Valium and commonly used for sedation. I felt very focused and not nervous though I’m not the nervous type. Who knows how much of this cool composure was due to the drug? Speaking of cool, I did notice that the operating room was cold and the nurse told me it is kept cold to keep the germs down. But they do have blankets if you need them.

As I was being prepared for the operation, they made a sort of tent over my head so I couldn’t see up. Then they washed my ear out with a cool feeling disinfectant and suctioned it out.

Then Dr. Fayad came and said it was time for the local anesthetic. This was a needle into my outer ear area, but I barely felt it. So the Versed might be magic, or I’ve got a high pain tolerance. (And generally when I am ready for something I can keep good focus and not be too bothered by pain) I’ve had a fair bit of dentistry, and those needles are noticed! Particularly for the root surgeries I’ve had on my top front teeth, which feel like the needle is going up through the gum all the way up into my nose. But I digress …

Then the surgery started. First, the eardrum was cut and moved away. Then he took some time in the ear to remove the stapes. It seemed to take longer than I expected but there are tendons and nerves in there to be careful about! I heard the odd loud crunching sound as he was working to remove the stapes from the footplate.

Before drilling the footplate, the doctor asked me to hold steady. He did the drilling again warning me that it could be a bit loud. This also turned out to be not too bad. Then he put in the prosthesis. It is put into the hole drilled through the footplate which is situated over the oval window and projects into the inner ear. They used the LASER to heat shrink the other end of the prosthesis onto the incus. Then Dr. Fayad whispered in my ear and asked if I could hear him, and I certainly could: loud and clear!

After the operation, I stayed in a private hospital room and took a short nap. Then I watched some mediocre daytime TV while waiting for my friend to arrive to drive me to their home. I left the hospital around 11:30 a.m.

Smart Stapes Piston

The implant is made by Olympus.

olympus-piston

Note that the piston is nitinol. Different surgeons will use different pistons. The clamping of the piston is a very important step in the surgery and has a major effect on the final results. The nitinol part of this piston is for how it clamps to the incus. There are some studies showing that this clamping method has better outcomes.

They let me take home the stapes. Note the ruler marks are 1 mm apart.

Stapes Bone

I did not experience any dizziness, and there was no post-operative pain. I was given a subscription for Darvocet-N I took one the night after anticipating that the pain would build but it didn’t.

For the first week, there was very little hearing. The packing fell out about four days after the operation. There was a bit of cracking in the hearing during this time also. Then about one week after the operation my hearing improved drastically, and I went for follow up two weeks after. The usual follow-up time is after three weeks, but I could not take more time out of Kuwait.

20080119_DSC4716

The above photo is from a strenuous 3.5-hour hike I did ten days after the surgery.

When I was going in for the hearing test they first looked into the ear and saw that there was dried blood and gunk covering my ear drum. I had not followed the instructions about putting baby oil in my ear. So I waited for the doctor who put drops in and then removed the gunk so I could go back for the hearing test. Now the ear was really working, and the hearing was even better!

audiogram-after

The yellow area shows the main areas where I gained in hearing after the surgery. The operation was very successful!

Now I have two functioning ears again. I can have greater enjoyment listening to music, use the phone on either ear, no longer miss parts of conversations and can enjoy watching TV with my family without deafening them. I am also reminded of how good the surgery was whenever I have a shower and hear the loud gurgling of the water splashing near my fixed ear.

So now I should go annually for a hearing exam and send the results to the House Clinic for their records, but I look forward to continued good hearing with no problems for many years.

I did not get annual hearing tests done as I was living overseas and was not confident in the accuracy and calibration of the testing equipment at the local clinics. I ordered a hearing test CD which is quite good, and played with it a bit but it isn’t accurate enough to compare to professionally done hearing tests. I’ve also tried out some Apple iOS applications that do hearing tests. The CD and apps aren’t bad for finding the thresholds and relative frequency sensitivities, but there is a large error margin. The output of each electronic device varies in volume over the range of hearing frequencies. And, more significantly, headphones vary widely on their output levels at different frequencies. Plus, they can vary on how they fit on your head or in your ears. So you can’t accurately know the dB difference in your hearing at different frequencies.

Now I am back residing in Canada and had a hearing test in August 2014 as shown below.

Audiogram 2014

The red line is the left (good) ear. I thought I might have some loss but if you look the right ear is very similar to the post surgery one with the slight loss around 1000 Hz.

I still have more tinnitus in the right ear and may in the future look into the latest treatments. Here is a good TedX talk on the latest knowledge of tinnitus.

And note regarding SCUBA diving. As I’m back in Canada and don’t live near the warm seas, I have decided to not SCUBA dive anymore. There are so many other things to do, and it isn’t worth risking my hearing.

If there are any queries or corrections to this article, please comment.

208 Replies to “Stapedectomy”

  1. Had my operation done yesterday at New York Presbyterian by Dr Storper. Very impressed with the Doctor and the hospital. They gave me a general anesthesia to insure no movement and best results.Have not experienced any pain, some loss of taste and a little dizziness.Seem to be picking up more hearing at this stage- which i hear from other comments should be expected latter.Wish to thank all those contributing , since this helps others going through the same operation.

  2. I got my surgery on Friday 16th Oct. I am very scared of taking head bath, don’t want to have any infection. For how many days do I need to keep water away from ear. Is it safe to fly after a month of the surgery? Will appreciate if anybody has an idea.

  3. You’ve had an interesting but unfortunate medical history. In your case you have a physical hearing loss not neurological so there is a new option available. I know about it as I inquired with the surgeon at the House Ear Institute on behalf of a colleague who is deaf in one ear due to childhood measles. It is called a Bone Anchored Hearing Appliance BAHA). It is basically a microphone which transmits the sound to the skull which then transmits the sound via the skull bypassing the middle ear into the inner ear where it is heard. This apparently gives some range of hearing in the deaf ear so that you do not stay deaf on one side.

    We also have neighborhood roosters and before the surgery I could strategically place the bad ear up while sleeping. Now I resort to ear plugs depending on the roosters.

    It is standard mom behavior to choke up at the end. Don’t worry it’s only a play 🙂

  4. Congratulations on the surgery – your procedure seemed like it was well worth doing. I wish I could get my hearing sorted out. I have quite a different problem, though, which is related to chronic ear inflammation as a child and then when i was in my 20s I had an operation to make a link between the bones of my ear and the eardrum as the natural link was lost due to bone destruction by infection. I had it done in Columbia, Missouri, USA. I was so excited about it. I had a very rare complication – so rare that a paper was written about it so please nobody be put off having it done as most of the time it works very well. I went under the anaesthetic. I awoke afterwards feeling very dizzy, but told my husband ‘wow, I can feel a difference in my hearing already’. He then gave me the bad news that the surgeon had tried to put the link (called a ‘stent’), but had ended up pushing my incus bone (a tiny ear bone) into the oval window that leads to the inner ear (cochlea). Seems it had been pressing in there for some time which caused my dizziness during the months before the surgery. Anyway, the op caused a leak of fluid into my ear which can be dangerous and can cause infection in the brain. So, he removed the incus and patched up the hole. This meant that I had worse hearing when I woke up than when I went into surgery. I was devastated for weeks afterwards as I’d really thought the op would work and improve my life. After that I tried a hearing aid, but all that happened is I heard muffled sounds in my right ear louder than normal. Now, I try to manage as much as possible with only one properly functioning ear. Indeed, a non-functioning ear can be useful in Jabriya when you live as I do close to some inconsiderate individuals who keep multiple roosters in their garden that start to crow at 2.30 each morning. I just turn over so my good ear faces the pillow and i get back to sleep again. Still, it makes life a bit embarrasing when talk to me on my bad side and think I’m ignoring them when I don’t immediately reply. I do a lot of lip and face-watching to compensate.
    By the way, I hope all goes well with Evita – I think your son has a great voice and he’s going to do really well in the show. He’ll be playing opposite my daughter, Amber. We’re looking forward to the show and Amber’s doing great, but I know I’ll struggle with the part when Eva dies and will need a few boxes of tissue handy. So very sad. Best wishes. Amanda

  5. I had a look at my photographs that I took to see what I did on the days after the surgery. I had the surgery on January 9 and went on a moderate hike for an hour on January 17 and on about a 3.5 hour very strenous hike on January 19. There seemed to be no side effects except tired legs.

    The usual disclaimer applies. This was my experience and yours could be quite different. My exercise was primarily aerobic. I was not carrying a heavy backpack for example as heavy lifting would probably not be a good idea only a week after the operation.

  6. I am going back in on October 13th for a revision surgery with Dr. House. My original surgery was on May 19th, as I had posted earlier (June 2,2009). We didn’t get the intended results the first time around. After a few months of post OP office visits and hearing tests it was apparent that there wasn’t alot of improvement to my hearing in my left operative ear. Dr. House had me go for a scan, and afterwards he and the radiologist determined that the prothesis was too short. So this should be a chip shot the second time around for both my wife, and I. Still confident in positive results…

  7. Hi

    I had my op 10 days ago on my right ear and im 46 years of age I had my left ear done 25 years ago and its still working. I cant remember a lot about the first one so this one has been a new experience. The technique is a bit different they tell me so Im hoping it works. i still have the cotton wool in my ear. The dizziness stayed with me for about 10 days gradually getting better everyday. I’m on my 12th day now and can easily walk around but wouldn’t go for a run. My ear still feels a bit alien to me and it feels better day by day. Noise is a real irritate to me and i went and taught some kids yesterday and it was a bit painful so i probably should not have done that. I still get the cracking and the tinnitus in my ear. I’ve always had that so I don’t know what will happen there. But all up I’m feeling good and return back to the doctor in 8 days. My hearing seems no better at the moment but they say it takes a few weeks so here hoping. Great to hear everyone’s story its quite reassuring casual there is a lot of questions going through my mind when in recovery.

  8. Ian,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I have surgery tomorro and your story made me even more confident in my decision to have the precedure done. You are an amazing communicator, and I admire people like you who desire to help others. I’ll let you know if my story deviates much from yours, I assume everything will go well. Dr. Diaz-Ortez is experienced. Not only do we have snow in Buffalo NY, but great ENT Doctors! Bless you! Debbie

  9. I had mine done August 3rd on the NHS under general anesthetic. It was carried out successfully by Dr. Raut. You just need to take it really easy afterwards. I suffered sickness after the op and again about four days later and felt really off. The packing was removed after two weeks (thank goodness)as it got really irritable. I was then told to apply ear drops for two weeks and have just finished with them. My taste buds have been affected on and off since the operation and I hope they return. My tongue feels numb as if it has been burned and I have a strange taste in my mouth. My ear still feels alien, but expect all this will settle down in time. It’s great to hear again, so worthwhile having done. Good luck to you all

  10. I had the procedure 2 days ago in Memphis with Dr. Fetterman. It was under general anesthesia. It took about 3 hours after surgery before I could sit up, and the dizzyness was pretty severe, though the antinausea meds worked great. Both my parents had this operation in the 60s with great results, so I didn’t think twice about having it. Like most of the posters, I had no pain with the operation itself, and overdid it the 2nd day which is when my first followup was. Have had very little bleeding from the ear and a full feeling in the ear from the packing. I’m told the packing will dissolve, and to return in 5 weeks. He also suggested using the baby oil a few days prior to this visit. My hearing was vastly improved postop but now is just tinnitis and muffled sounds. Like some of the other posters, the worst thing has been the drug hangover and sore throat that is a result of the intubation. I have otosclerosis in the other ear as well and plan to have the operation on that one at the end of December if possible since my insurance deductible will be met. Glad to see this site here and find my experience seems to be status quo. Thanks.

  11. Hi, for Diana. Don’t worry. I just found out yesterday I have the same thing. My Dr. assured me is a fairly simple and quickk procedure with little to no discomfort afterwards with a very high success rate. If you don’t get it done, it is progressive and will get worse, so don’t ignore it. Take care and good luck.

  12. Hi this msg is for Paul
    I live in Edmonton and I was diagnosed 2 years ago with Otosclerosis in my left ear. I decided in May 2009 to have the surgery and will be having it middle of September. Dr. DiToppa is the surgeon. I have not be able to find any stats on his surgeries of the same. I must admit that i am very nervous about the procedures. It will be done with local anesthetic. If you have any further info on physicians that perform this procedure in Alberta please let me know.

  13. I was originally diagnosed in Calgary, but after that I was living overseas so I investigated getting it done in Canada but it didn’t pan out. As I was paying out of pocket the House Clinic was the most responsive and has a very good reputation. In Canada it is a public system so there is probably not as much information out there. You can try posting on the Yahoo group if there is any experience with the surgeon. And you should feel able to ask your potential Canadian surgeon whatever questions you may have such as how many surgeries they have done. If you are not comfortable asking the surgeon questions they are you comfortable with letting the same person do micro-surgery in your ear?

  14. I live in Alberta, Canada. I was just diagnosed today with Otosclerosis. The specialist recommended a stapedectomy.

    My question, how do I find out if this Doctor is reliable enough to put my hearing in his hands?

    Thanks, Paul

  15. I just returned from San Antonio from a planned stapedectomy on my left ear. The doctor could not complete the procedure because he said my facial nerve was in the way and it would be too dangerous as I could end up with facial paralysis. Has anyone encountered this problem? He told me he would order a CAT scan for the right ear before I scheduled a stapedectomy for that ear. Needless to say, I am very disappointed as I went through the anesthesia, the pain, the bleeding, and the cost.

  16. Good luck. I’m certainly no musician but love music so the surgery was worth it. After the surgery music listening whether by headphones or live was fantastically improved.

  17. Thanks for posting your experience, Ian! I’m actually due for a Stapedectomy tomorrow morning at House with Dr. Luxford. I’ve been extremely nervous leading up to it but I think now I’m just resolved and a bit more calm. Just want to get it over with and start the recovery process. I’m a musician so this whole loss of hearing thing has totally thrown me for a loop, but I’m focusing on the positive, that this CAN be fixed.

  18. I had my 2nd stapedectomy 6/09 with Dr. Anthony Jahn who has offices in NJ and NYC. I had a wonderful experience with both of my ears and got my hearing back immediately. I also have nerve damage in my inner ear and will still have to wear 2 hearing aids. One note, I too opted for local anesthesia with sedation, however, the sedation wore off about 3/4 of the way through the procedure and I felt frustrated by having to stay very still. Highly recc’d Dr. Jahn, great bedside manner and is a great surgeon.

  19. I got the OK to dive from the surgeon and have gone diving many times since then including doing some technical diving. I have never had problems equalizing that ear and now if I ever have the slightest doubt of being able to equalize due to a cold or whatever I will not dive.

    One point to consider is how you will deal with the medical questionnaires required by dive centers after the surgery. Disclosing the fact you had ear surgery will require you to see a physician when you travel to dive. I have a printout of the Email saying it is OK to dive from the surgeon as a backup.

  20. Hi Ian,

    Very interesting post. I’m due to have this procedure in a couple of months, but I’m very concerned about whether or not I’ll be able to scuba dive in the future.

    Have you dived since having the operation?

    Thanks

  21. Thanks so much for this page! I read it before my stapedectomy procedure on June 22nd, and it really helped me prepare for the experience. I, too, felt pretty good the day after surgery and overdid it–shopping and running errands and such, and now I’m paying for it a bit. Overall, my experience with the surgery seems very similar to yours. I’m so glad that the surgery worked for you! I’m still at the “blocked up” stage of things, but I’m hopeful that my recovery will go well!

  22. You’re welcome.

    I have had tinnitus for a long time. Since the surgery I still have some in the right ear but it doesn’t bother me unless I’m in an quiet place and put my attention on it. I would say that it is about the same or less than before. Obviously, in my case, some tinnitus was not a contraindication for the surgery.

  23. Hi. I was diagnosed with Otosclerosis in my left ear when I was 7 years old. I am 32 now, and as of about 3 years ago, I was diagnosed as having it in my right ear also. I currently live about 2 hours from the House Ear Clinic. I think I am ready to have the surgery. I am really tired of not being able to hear. I am so sick of asking people to repeat themselves. I have never known what it is like to have normal hearing. I know what a HUGE deal it is to choose an experienced surgeon, so I have been searching online for which Dr is good at house by searching for patient’s input. Thank you for writing this blog, all of your info has helped me so much! I just have one question, Did you ever experience ringing in your ears before you had surgery? I have a mild case of tinnitus, and I am worried that it will affect whether I am even a candidate for surgery.

    Thanks again for your detailed blog!!

    Arlene Finch

  24. You’re welcome. My goal with this page was to give back some factual information on my actual experience. We’ve all gained from those who contribute content to the Internet, so I felt it was my turn. Also I was curious how the page would do for hits and search engine ranking given its specificity. It is averaging now six to eight hits a day.

  25. I am not familiar with the heat-shrinking the prothesis to the incus. I think they mechanically clamped the “Richards” prothesis to the incus in my case. It has a platinum hook on the end. Have done a little research on the prothesis so that I would know what I have in there:) Thank you so much for your website, I wish I had found it before my surgery, but am so thankful for the detailed information you have provided. Thank you so much…

  26. Good news, I’m happy to see it went well, in spite of an earthquake. Regarding the laser. I know I was briefed prior to my surgery that he would use the drill for the hole in the footplate and the laser was for other uses particularly to heat-shrink the prosthesis onto the incus bone.

  27. I had my Stapedectomy on May 19th by Dr. John W. House at St. Vincents Hospital also. Just across the street from the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. My wife and I stayed at the Marriot Downtown the night before and after surgery. I had the local anesthesia and had no complications.
    Other than the Doctor not being able to use the laser to cut the hole for the prothesis. He ended up using a mechanical drill which was very loud and took longer than originally thought. We also had an earthquake right in the middle of the procedure which was not planned. I could hear really well right after the surgery when speaking to my wife from my bad ear side, but that subsided rather quickly. I was starved by the time they rolled me out of there to a recovery room. I ate everything they gave me on the tray and was ready to leave. I took one Darvoset after the surgery and one that night before bed. My ear just felt a little sore. The next day was fine and my wife changed the cottonball the next day afternoon as they requested. There was alot of blood then but after that very little dried blood on the end. After a week I noticed there was no more blood on the cottonball and I stopped using it. The pamplet they gave me says it takes three weeks to notice the improvement in hearing and 4 months for the maximum level. I guess that is why they setup the three week followup appointment. My father had the same surgery back in the early 50’s with Dr. Houses father, Howard House. I was told this is hereditary.

  28. I’m not sure what the “packing” was. I think it may have just been cotton. I didn’t bleed much if at all so I didn’t have to change the dressing. It was the same for me the ear got blocked. Basically it is dried up blood etc. That’s why they said to use the oil as it would loosen this stuff so it would come out easily. I had some dried gunk on my ear drum so when I went for the hearing test I wasn’t hearing well (though better than pre-surgery) until I saw the doctor and he removed the gunk that was on my eardrum.

  29. great summary. i had my surgery yesterday at the same place by Dr. JW House from house ear clinic. it was under local anaesthesia. i could hear everything. i was pretty dizzi after surgery and vomited a little bit. but after a nap, i felt fine. Mister, you mentioned that a “packing” fell off after 4 days of surgery. I just have a cotton ball in my ear which changed today (it was blook soaked). I dont see any packing in my ear, but i feel like the ear is blocked. I cannot hear anything at all from that ear right now. Hopefully in a week it should improve.
    Also, i dont have any instructions for putting baby oil in the ear.

  30. I had the procedure 2 days ago by Dr. Lambert under local sedation at the Medical University of SC. I remember somewhat hearing what was going on during the operation, but I just laid there like I was passed out. Didn’t feel much pain at all. In recovery, I felt seasick. Any movement made me a little dizzy. I did not vomit. Travelling in a car was no problem. I went to sleep when I got home and woke up and the cotton ball was soaked in blood. I changed it and the amount of bleeding has decreased over the last two days. The sea sickness feeling went away after just a few hours. I have not tried to shower yet.

  31. I had my stapedectomy 1 wk ago today at Mass Eye & Ear w/ Dr Mckenna. He was great, procedure not so much. I was quite dizzy for 1 wk and still am. Packing came out yesterday, be prepared NOT pleasant. Still can barely hear out of that ear, feels like when your hearing is blocked from a head cold. Plan on at least 1 wk off. I drove on day 3, probably not the best idea. Dizziness is better since packing came out so driving is o.k. now. Hopefully it will be worth but I am still hesitant!!
    Good Luck

  32. Good luck. I would think that whatever the House Clinic advises in terms of hearing improvement from surgery is reliable.

  33. Thanks for detailed information. I saw Dr. House recently and he recommnded Stapadectomy for my otoschlerosis in left ear. I already got stapedectomy in my right ear. The hearing test shows that i have good hearing in my right ear, but i have too much diffculty understanding anyone if they start whispering, even on my right ear side.
    So, i am a bit nervous if the stapedectomy in left ear now is going to improve my hearing or not.

  34. Thank you so much… I was recently diagnosed with otosclerosis and im still going back and forth between a hearing aid and the surgery…but i really think this helps me weigh in my decision..does anyone know of any great doctors in the maryland,pennslyvania, new jersey area?..thanks!

  35. Thanks for the details. I had my left ear done in Feb, and was off work for 2 months due to dizzyness. I was really off my feet with it. It was very much baby steps for the 1st month, then building up to walks. I also couldn’t drive due to lack of spacial awareness (even as a passenger). That said – the results have been remarkable. Life is very loud now! I still get dizzy when I blow my nose, but three months in, things are almost back to normal. Don’t rush it is what I would say. Just rest, and take things slowly for the best results.

  36. THanks for your story.
    I’m having my operation at Mass Eye and Ears with Dr. McKenna in May and am terrified. I appreciate hearing your details.
    Lauren

  37. I can only go by my experience which was quite immediate. But everyone is different and I suppose it may depend on the health of the inner ear and how long you’ve had otosclerosis.

  38. is it possible that post surgery , say after about 3 weeks , there is an improvement in hearing levels but not upto the expectation. the various journals say that it takes at least 2 to 3 months for the hearing to improve after surgery. Is this theory correct?

  39. Thank you so much for this! I will be going in for my Stapedectomy soon on February 24th. And I can’t tell you how valuable your information is to me. Like Aim I am having it done at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston with Dr. McKenna and after reading this am a lot more comfortable about going through with it! My only real concern now is how it will effect my Tinnitus. From what I’ve heard it can actually make it better. Thank you again, you made my day.

  40. Thank you sooo very much for the wonderful information. I had my one ear done about 15 years ago without laser successfully however it was not a very pleasant experience or recovery.

    I was thinking of having my other one done with the new laser procedure at the same place in LA as you did as they seem to be the best through the research I did online.
    With reading your comments I feel so much more confidant having it done now. I do not however have insurance so the price is quite a big concern.
    I really want to thank you for all the time you took to write the article and let you know that many others such as myself greatly benefit from your kind words. Kindest Regards Mark C

  41. I hope your recovery goes well. That is the first I’ve heard of a skin graft to plug the footplate though. But I’m not a doctor!

  42. So nice to hear (literally) that the surgery worked for you. I had a stapendectomy approximately one month ago and am still recovering. My hearing has definitely improved (my follow up hearing test is in 3 days) however I had terrible nausea for three weeks after the surgery, as well as a significant change in taste. I did not have the option of a local and I am fully convinced that my slow recovery is due to using a general, (however, I don’t know if I would want to be awake for the procedure).
    I had my surgery at the world renowned Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. My Dr. was amazing and my confindence in him is the only reason I opted for the surgery. I too had a pain free experience, altough they did graft skin from behind my ear to plug the foot plate which required 2 stitches. So far I am very happy with the (unofficial) results and am very happy with my decision to have the surgery.
    For the record I am a 35 year old woman, and my hearing was at a 68% loss in my right ear.

  43. Thank you! I’m having a Stapendectomy procedure in my left ear next week in Denver and have been really stressed out. The web is full of worst case scenarios which are very scary. Your article is much appreciated!

  44. Thank you both for your comments. I tried to make a thorough recollection of the full experience. Though I did have further details on the post surgery day by day recovery. But all in all the post surgery was quite uneventful.

  45. Thank you for this!
    Really interesting for me, as I am having a stapendectomy next month. I am in the uk having it done on the NHS and so far have been told nothing about the procedure. So this has been extremely helpful and encouraging.
    Thanks!

  46. What a wonderful chronology. My experience (9/07) was exactly the same as yours, though I fell asleep or into deep sedation under the local anesthetic so I don’t remember a thing about the surgery. I wasn’t told to do the oil drops and had no issues with that – my doctor removed the packing just fine a week or 10 days later. Thank you for demystifying the experience – I wish I had been able to read this before my surgery. My surgery was done by Dr. Peters at Medical City Hospital in Dallas. He was terrific.

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