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. Hi,
    I am in day 17th today and this is my day as I went to remove my packing. So far I didn’t have much symptoms for hearing improvement but had double tone but still hearing is lower than my non-operated ear, my own voice from head for few times, remember I am still having my packing so that is my hope.
    So I went to hospital and Nurse setup the camera with TV and I was looking in my ear while she was doing and she started to vacuum but no changed to my hearing after that, then she started to remove the big dressing part and It was no-changed yet, and my heart is crying. So she took another part and hearing still the same and I thought all packing is gone and little bit upset now. But she started again and It was the final layer, immediately I feel like I have speaker in my ear. So finally I got my WOW hearing as everybody else. 🙂

    before the surgery I used different hearing aids like CIC (nearly 7 years) and Lyrics just before the surgery for three months and it was great, but now I hear twice as my hearing aid so I believe I have gain my hearing close to normal and looks like this is dream come true and I never thought this is before, but now It is true and am very very happy about my decision to go for Stapedectomy and my consideration period is 3-4 years.
    I think my doctor is one best in UK and he has done magic for me with his magic hand. (he has removed only base bone of three bones and he used laser to drill)

    In few minutes I went out from the Nurse room into the canteen area and it was very loud and very clear sounds but not easy for head because of so loud and too much to head, I know will settle in to me in few days. I was driven to home but I stopped my car in the half way to cool down my head within 20 min journey.
    I can now hear all the sound at home and very clear on the TV and called to Phonac Lyric consultant to cancel the appointment to insert new Lyrics as because I don’t need hearing aid again if these hearing continue. I am ready to go to work tomorrow morning as scheduled, so I am very happy and I can hear now my little two kids speaking every single word very well and also my wife don’t need to speak loudly for me.

    I only need now to protect my ear from water and avoid quick head movement for another two months until I go to meet my doctor.
    Finally I just want to tell all of you that you need to be patience and need very good behaviour after surgery until packing remove to get better results as I always stayed in bed and didn’t go out other than to remove stitch in ear lobe.
    So I will all the best of luck for everyone who has done the surgery or willing to do.
    Thank you,
    Wasa

  2. Well, it’s been a month since my stepedectomy and I could not be more thrilled with the results. The hearing in my operated ear is BETTER than my non-operated ear. I have not experienced any pain since the second day. For the first week I was completely deaf in the operated ear and then after 8 days there was a sudden popping noise and a rush of sounds. I am hearing sounds so clearly and loud that is a bit annoying, but I’m sure I will get accustomed to it. I was concerned about the potential risk associated with the operation but I am glad I did it. I am not sure I would do it again unless I had the same significant hearing loss but with the success and change in my ability to hear this was well worth it for me. This is a great site for those thinking about the procedure to get the pros and cons. Thanks Ian.

  3. Thank you all for taking the time to post your experiences and comments,particularly Mr Ian who set the ball rolling.For my own part, as someone contemplating the surgical procedure,it would be much appreciated that those who experienced any negative effects would update their progress at a later date and let us know the longer term outcome and effects.This would extremely helpful.Many thanks and good luck to all.

  4. I had a Stapedectomy on my right ear 6 days ago.

    Everything went smoothly and I didn’t suffer any pain or nausea.

    I had some bleeding for the first 3 days but this has stopped.

    Like others here, I couldn’t hear through the ear for the first 3 days mainly due to the plug/wick used to drain the fluid. However my Consultant scratched the cotton wool in my ear and I could hear the scratching so I knew I hadn’t lost my hearing.

    After 3 days i went back to get the plug removed as my Consultant was going on holiday. He was expecting me to go ‘Wow, i can hear’ but I didn’t. He cleaned some dry blood on my eardrum, but still no ‘Wow’ moment. I had an audiogram which showed a little improvement on the lower frequencies but nothing elsewhere. I was a bit disappointed.

    However, in the following 3 days, as well as the glugging, clicks, echoey sounds and feeling the plug is still in, I started to hear new sounds – I never knew my mobile clicked when I scrolled! Other sounds were greatly amplified. I can now hear people speaking on the TV at level 11 instead of 21 ! I’ve asked my wife to stop speakly so loudly too!

    I went to church last night and couldn’t believe how loud the car engine was – it sounded like a racing car. I had to leave church as the organ noise and singing was just too loud and painful in my ear.

    Today its changed again, not quite so echoey. I’m hopeful as the ear drum heals and stretches my brain will get used to the amplified sound and give a balanced experience.

  5. I am in day 7th now and most of the noices, sounds gone away. and only litle tinitus which had before the surgery but less than that still comes and go. I stayed at home after the surgery and though behave patiantley. I feel very miner hearing improvement in my operated ear, I reduced the pain killers day by day and no pain now. I keep use ear drops twice daily and I think my ear is now dry.

    Can anyone explain what make different when the dressing in the ear romved? how those dressing can reduce the hearing I mean it is not like cotton wool in the ear?
    I was little bit worry in first few days but now think 50:50 for the operation because at least I now hear similar or better than before the operation. I will update next week and hoping better news.
    Regards,
    Wasa

  6. I have just had my second stapes surgery 5 days ago and my post op experience is very different from what I experienced with my right ear surgery a little over 1 year ago. It took me 6 months to recovery a sense of normality after my right ear was done, although my hearing was amazing from day one. I was so sound sensitive I could not be in a crowd, could not listen to anything loud, was very dizzy and off balance. My tinnitus improved however. I thought I was never going to be normal again but I was eventually fine and no longer needed the hearing aid on this ear. In spite of the horrendous recovery I decided to take the risk and have my left ear done as well. This latest surgery worries me because the recovery is so different. It is however, much like many of you are describing. I’ve lost a lot of hearing since the surgery, my tinnitus has increased (even in my right ear for some reason), my ear is congested and full of fluid even though the packing is out. I have increasing dizziness and light headedness. I will see my doctor for follow up in 2 days to see what he says and to have my hearing tested. I have the taste disturbance as well. It is good to know my symptoms are much like many of yours and as I pray for my recovery I will keep all of you in mind as well. Thanks Ian for writing this blog and I am glad you are doing so well.

  7. Hi i had a stapedectomy done in my right ear in 2003 , all was fine for 7 years and my hearing decreased by 2010, 3 months back i met with an accident and when i visited the ENt, he removed a dried blood clot along with my piston which was fixed in 2003, i was devastated as my left ear also has partial hearing loss, The ENT now suggested me to get my left ear operated as the right ear seemed complicated. I got operated on the 21st of September 2011, certainly with all the dizziness etc, however i had a terrible cold and had to blow my nose very often, keeping in mind that it cant be very hard. the hearing was loud for the 1st 2 days but has decreased a lot, went to my ENT yesterday for cleaning it but still no change, he says will take 2 to 3 weeks more. I am scared will it get better or was it unsuccessful?? Has anyone experienced this? i still hear the click sound when i gulp or swallow. how long will it take for the haring to get better? is decreased hearing normal after surgery, its just 7 days post surgery.

  8. Thanks everyone for your input… I am scheduled for a surgery next week in orange county. Samiksha, i am originally from bombay too and wud love to know who your doctor is, just in case i change my mind before my surery. however reading all these comments i feel much confident about going thru the surgery… thanks you all and will update my experience soon

  9. I just had my surgery yesterday for my left ear. I found your blog very informative. I also had it done at the House Clinic in Los Angeles. Procedure went well, no real pain or dizziness. Unfortunately this morning I woke up with a bad cold. Hopefully this won’t complicate the healing process. Waiting to hear back from Dr. Friedman on this.

  10. I had the stapedectomy operation yesterday at oxford, UK hospital and back to home today, I dont have much pain but my hearing still the same as before. I am hoping your words and wait. I have lot of different noices time to time. I got bad wistle on the way to home by car and like my new metal bone loosen then I put the ear drops first time and it went away. Also I had clicking sound when I swollen so I moved twice my head left to and right then it gone which was yestetday. I am still having litle ringing time to time that I had before the surgery as well. There is lot of blood in my ear so thinking that is normal according to you.
    Can anyone tell me what is the best position to keep the head?
    Should always stay in the bed?
    When should I start wash my head I mean how many days after the operation?
    Also is there anyway I can know my hearing is improving before the packing remove?

    Finaly, I must thanks Ian and others for thier information posted here so that i lernt lot and helped lot.

  11. hi everyone,just had my second op on my right ear as i had my left ear done about a year ago,with great success might i mention.after having my first ear done and the way i felt dizzy,sick & tired most off the time for the first week or so i said i did’nt want to go through that experience ever again.but with the outcome from my first op i thought i must have the other ear done when i get the chance.now that i’ve just had it done under general anestetic i must add, i feel like s**t.dizzy again,sick again,pain,taste loss,so lightheaded it feels like i’m floating most the time,not to mention the leaking from the ear and the most annoying tinnitus.sorry for rambling on about the down sides of this operation but it does have an effect on you.to sum up though i must stress that it will be worth it in the end if all is well.such a small price to pay 1 to 2 weeks of discomfort for a lifetime of enjoyment.hope this helps.
    p.s this operation affects people differently as read in these post,please feel free to comment on your experiences.

  12. Good to hear it went well, and thanks for the compliment on the site. One pending item here is for me to post a follow up hearing test. The doctor advised every year so I’m a bit behind in getting one. Having said that I don’t detect any changes in my hearing.

  13. I had a stapedectomy on my left ear yesterday morning. I was given a general anestetic so I don’t have any memory of the procedure, which is the way I wanted it. I was in the office at 0615 and out by 0930. I did have some pain at about 1330 which was significant, a sharp pain in the ear but the oxycodone really deadened that quickly. I also had some difficulty getting to sleep, which is odd because I did get up early for the surgery to begin with, but I did doze a lot during the day. At some points yesterday, I could hear things much louder in the operated ear than I have in the past, but they were odd sounds like crunches and roaring background noisies. Not so much today, must be the swelling. No pain at all today, looking forward to my hearing improving. This is a great site for those who have, or are contemplating, surgery for otosclerosis.

  14. Hi Barbara, for stapedectomy who is the best doctor in Bangalore or any where in India. Shall we go for LA only

  15. I had a stapedectomy on my left ear Aug 12,2011.Absolutely ask for the scopolamine patch to put on the night before surgery to keep the “dizzies”,nausea,and vomiting from visiting you after surgery.I was slightly off balance,but no pain,no anything,just tired.Also,please plan to just veg out for a few days….you don’t want to do anything to disturb your new “bionic” ear.My dr gave me 2 weeks off work and I plan on catching up on my reading and some dvds.Good luck to all.

  16. Hi

    I have otosclerosis of both ears. Its 3 months now since my right stapedectomy. No major improvement as yet. The operated ear itself is much louder than my left ear. I can hear clearer in my right ear compared to my left ear but not loud enough for both my ears. I still use the hearing aid in my left ear which is now getting to me. I thought after the surgery, I don’t have to use the hearing aid. I am going back to the dr next week for the 3 month check up. He did advise me to do the left ear as it is my better ear. Not sure if I should go ahead with it. He told me there’ll be no need to use the hearing aid after the left stapedectomy. Do you think it is advisable to do the left ear also?

  17. Hi There,
    Last week i underwent a stapedectomy on my right ear. Its one week post op and i feel week, dizzy, unsteady, quizzey, light headed and i feel as though it is hard to walk around. My taste is dysfunctioned as well. I can not sleep, the ativan prescribed just gives me hallucinations. I have no ear pain, but i get dizzy when i turn my head or look down etc. Everything was going fine until i decended on a flight home. My surgeon said it would be okay to fly home within the first 4 days of surgery, but i think that was not good advice, because my ear has been a mess since. I ended up in the hospital for 4 days, spinning, vertigo, vomitting. Now i am home and still feel terrible. My ENT told me yesterday that i have a leak???? i do not know what that means, i have to keep my packing in for another week. I am scared. I have 36, mother or 2. I am afraid my life is over. I can not drive, and being a passenger in the car makes me so motion sick. I am truley regretting this whole process. Has anyone else had anything like this, but perhaps has a happy ending to share with me?
    Thanks
    Debbie

  18. Hello All,
    I had stapedectomy just a week ago. Every went fine with local anesthesia. Now my only concern is that I hear a clicking sound every time I swallow food and I can barely hear from my operated right, I know it needs time for the healing inside the ear. Did anybody went through this like me? Thank You for any comment.
    Esbin

    a clicking sound

  19. Great news. I’ve only had oto in one ear and as far as I know not in the other ear yet. I don’t know how common it is. All posts and comments I’ve ever seen are with people with oto in both ears.

  20. I had my post-op visit yesterday and my surgeon removed a dried clot from the ear canal. The hearing in the operative ear improved immediately! The hearing test from before surgery was repeated with significant improvement. The taste disturbance (everything tastes super salty) and slight dryness continues but he said it will resolve. Now I can hardly wait to get my other ear done but must wait until next year due to financial constraints. So happy with the results this time!

  21. Did you see your doctor at around the two week time? Perhaps there is some obstruction after it all healed?

  22. Hi,
    this seems like a great blog for people to share their experience. I got operated on 10th June 2011 (3 weeks ago) in my right ear. It was done under general anesthesia so i have no memory of the proedure itself. I stayed in the hospital overnight (no nausea, no pain).
    I felt that there was an improvement in my hearing the next day but then it went back to what it was before. This is normal. But what i want to share and would like to ask if others have experienced it as well is this
    In the second week, when i held my mobile to my operated ear, i felt that there was a huge improvement in the listening but now in the third week, if i hold my phone to my operated ear, the sound is very low and i can only hear static. Has anyone had a similar experience? I am hoping that this is temporary and the hearing will improve.
    Also the ringing in the ear has increased a lot more than what it was before the operation. This is irritating me to some extent. There is the taste issue as well but that is not a huge concern. I have been scheduled to do a hearing test in Aug. But im seriously concerned about my current condition (hearing static). Can anyone offer any advise? I did take it easy for the first 2 weeks after the opertion but this week i started exercising. Could that have caused my current problem?

  23. Hi
    Its me again. I have ototscleris of both ears Just to let you know its almost 10 weeks since the surgery to my right ear and I cannot say like everyone else that there’s a drastic improvement in my hearing. In fact it is very slow. I still use a hearing aid in my left ear but at a lower volume than before. Previously my volume was almost to the maximum.I’m still very careful when I wash my hair – I soak cotton wool with vaseline. I can’t wait to hear without the hearing aid. I’m trusting God that my hearing will get better with each day and I will be totally healed. When I read everyone’s success story, I feel so happy for them but I feel sad for myself. Maybe I should just be patient.

  24. Had a revision stapedectomy today as my prosthesis had shifted and needed to be repositioned with bone cement. Had general anesthesia with NO nausea this time as I asked for a scopolamine patch. I could hear so well right after surgery but it is decreasing right now from swelling which will pass. Taste disturbance seems to be the worst problem right now. Thanks, Ian, for this blog. Great, realistic information!

  25. Thanks Ian for sharing your step by step experience ; it helped me a lot to gather my nerves. I was scheduled for the surgery on 2nd June and was very very nervous, when i came across your article. It was a real help. Most of the other stuff on the net is very clinical and scaring….
    My right ear is operated and I am really happy about the results. I am from mumbai, India and I had a reaallly good ENT surgeon to take care of it. I am quiet back to normal and also am back to work. It would surely not have been easy if i wouldnt have bumped on this page, I was exceptionally relaxed and stress free though out the process, thanks to you …. and of course the doc who did his job very well….

  26. Thanks Ian for sharing your step by step experience ; it helped me a lot to gather my nerves. I was scheduled for the surgery on 2nd June and was very very nervous, when i came across your article. It was a real help. Most of the other stuff on the net is very clinical and scaring…. My right ear is operated and I am really happy about the results. I am from mumbai, india and I had a reaallly good ENT surgeon to take care or it. I am quiet back to normal and also am back to work. It would surely not have been easy if i wouldnt have bumped on this page, I was exceptionally relaxed and stress free though out the process, thanks to you …. and of course the doc who did his job very well….

  27. Hi
    I have been diagnosed with otosclerosis for 7 years my grandmother had it and passed it down to me, and finally after it getting worse by my third child, and the anoyance of everyone around me I decided to give up on my deafness and had the operation 2 days ago. I was put to sleep for the operation, (I dont think I could of been awake listening to it all) and stayed in hospital overnight, Yesterday I felt like I had a microphone in my ear, today I feel as though im back to deafness I had last week.. I was quite distressed by it and decided to google stapedectomy and it led me to your blog. Im feeling alot better about it all thanks to your diary, I think I will have a good out come of it all.

  28. Had vomitting after around 36 hrs after the stapedectomy operation. Does this have an adverse effect on the surgery or affect the hearing.

    Do I need to avoid high volumes

    Can I lift weight after some time? How much? What is the max weight I can lift for life

  29. My surgery is in a week. I stumbled across this after my husband was drilling me for more information about what to expect, recovery, etc. 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to document your experiences.

  30. Hi,
    I m just done with stapedectomy last week…Doctor has removed the packing from the right ear. But im still waiting for the results..Doc says it shall take 6 weeks for hearing to be improved…lets see.

  31. Thanks for your stories. I had my stapedectomy just yestereday. I went under general anesthesia. I woke up feeling extremely dizzy, and terribly nauseated. I could barely move my head or body, I was spinning. I was sooo thirsty and all they could give me was a gauze drenched with water to moisten my mouth due to the nausea. I immediately could hear though. The noises were piercing and annoying. Yet I’m Thankful. It was one of those moments I wanted to take my hearing aid out. =)
    I would say My surgery went well, and is a complete success so far. I can now hear with out both of my hearing aids. My right ear was my worst. Forgive me if I’m going in circles. I am still dizzy and the medication has me feeling a bit sleepy. I’m praying that the nausea and dizziness subside. I could also live with out the odd taste and numbness on the right side of my tongue. The drainage(bloody) from my ear is somewhat bothersome. It makes it itch terribly. ps, I’m a 32 yo Mother of 4. Diagnosed with Otosclerosis and Chiari Malformation. Otosclerosis being the cause of My hearing Loss. I plan to have my left ear surgery depending on the success of this one. Honestly, I’m not liking the recovery. I’ve had 5 previous surgeries and never once experienced the nausea and dizziness as this. I’m wondering if my low blood pressure could be the cause? Good Luck and God Bless you all. Love, Casey

  32. I think you’ll be fine. Probably post operative swelling etc. My hearing was down until I saw the doctor after the surgery to clean out the ear. Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

  33. I’ve had a right stapedectomy on 20/04/2011. From day 2, I can’t hear in that ear. Using hearing aid in left ear to help me. Going to dr on 28/04. How long do I have 2 wait 2 hear on my right ear? Feeling scared. Can anyone help?

  34. Thanks very much for all the information on this site, very informative. I had the surgery 8 days ago, seems to be progressing well but today I am feeling off (wonder if I pushed my recovery to fast going back to work and living my normal life). I can’t wait to get the packing out, but I have another 2 weeks to wait. My hearing comes and goes, but when it is “on” it already seems better – fingers crossed.

    I still have a funny taste in my mouth and odd sensation on my tongue on occasion. Has anyone else experienced this? Just a minor annoyance.

  35. Ian, thank you so much for this report. Comprehensive and very helpful for what I am about to go through. Much appreciated

  36. I had Stapes surgery on 1/26/10 and had a hearing test on 3/21/11. I am at about 25db now and was at about 50db before the surgery. 50% is good so far but i’m sensitive to loud noises and banging objects. I feel my lower sounds are better than higher pitched sounds. I could talk on the phone using my repaired ear after the first month and noticed good improvement. I feel like i am still improving and at age 62 i know that it will take longer to heel from the trauma. I chose to have this surgery and i am glad i did. What i have read here seems to be the norm. I had a little pain the afternoon after the surgery and some crackling in my ear. I had a little bit of blood seepage for about three days. The first month i noticed that i had more balance in hearing and not that plugged up feeling in my ear. I also could tap the middle of my forehead with my finger and my hearing was much more balanced. This test is a good gauge for those who have Otoslerosis. Tap your finger in the middle of your forehead. If you can here the sound more in one ear than the other then that sound is bone sound and your hearing sound is limited in that ear. Good luck to all

  37. I had the surgery in both ears; the first on my right ear in 1990, unremarkable. In 1994 I had the left ear surgery and have been experiencing a neuralgia on that side ever since. I have been suffering with extreme pain expecially when the barometer changes. The pain alters my train of thought, my personality and I am useless for at least 3 to 4 days. My hearing in that ear has declined since the surgery. The tinnitus drowns out voices, the television and sometimes keeps me from falling asleep. I am going to another ENT to find out if there is anything they can do to help me. I will post at a later date.

  38. Hi, I had my stapedectomy 9 days ago and each day of recovery seems a little different. I may have done more then i’m suppose to. The reason is every time I swallow and there is this crackling sound, and when breathing threw my nastral it sounds like its blowing in my ear drum. I have an appointment tomorrow morning with my doctor. Has any of your readers commented on this befor?

  39. I had my operation on the 9th of December 2010. I was very unfortunate and had one of the rarest complications which was facial nerve palsy. Basically means i cant smile, close my eye or talk properly due to the facial muscles not working properly due to the facial nerve being damaged.
    My doctors say this is temporary but no-one can give a time frame on this. I have the issue in both ears and first noticed it because i could hear my heatbeat in my ear all the time and thought this was strange. This then progressed to hearing loss and my left ear was particularly bad, i could not hear people when i put the phone to that ear so started to rely on my right ear. As this ear is also affected the hearing just got worse and worse. So once diagnosed i decided to have the operation. It is now 3 and a half weeks after the operation and the hearing is definately better, i can still hear my heart beat but nowhere near as loud as it was before and now the hearing is better in the left ear than the right. I am not sure how good as my hearing test is at the end of this month. It has been a strange process of hearing odd things, and everytime i yawn or swallow hearing clicking in my ear but my consultant said that this is normal and actually a good sign. At my last appointment the doctor told me that the ear drum was slightly sucked in and when it was normal i would hear even better. Its just a shame i had to have the nerve complications, as it has led to me being very stessed out and a longer time to recovery. I truly hope this improves and has a little since the operation, but its just a matter of waiting as nerves can take months to heal. I liked reading everyones experiances and i hope my comment helps others who visit this blog.

  40. Lucky you (if you can call it luck) to be in LA. Hopefully you have insurance to pay for it also. I didn’t compare House to any other places so I don’t know if they are more expensive than others. I was paying my own money but do you bargain on microsugery on your own middle ears?

  41. I had my stapedectomy on November 16, 2010, by Dr. Bryan McKenzie, Fairfax, Virginia. I think he did a great job. It is now 8 days after the surgery. I did have drainage from my ear for about four days, partly from using the ear drops that were prescribed. I had the packing removed on November 22, but the doc told me to keep using the drops for another week. Also, after removing the packing, he had to suction quite a bit of dried blood or other stuff, before he could see into the ear canal very well.

    Ian, your commentary on your surgery was excellent and helped prepare me by knowing more about what to expect.

    The only thing is that I still hear like I am in the bottom of a well or like my head is inside a drum. I am looking for the hearing improvement to start soon, but I know that I must be patient.

  42. Great info here! I just came back from the doctor who diagnosed me to have Otosclerosis in BOTH ears… arghh!!! I’m just glad it’s not a tumor. I was headed towards an MRI when I got diagnosed today. My next step is to schedule surgery, and I feel very fortunate to be in Los Angeles. My doctor highly recommended the House Ear Clinic. He said they are the best there is.

  43. I’m waiting for followups by Matt. How are you doing? Do you hear better? are the post-op symptoms gone?

    Thanks!

  44. Hello again,

    Today (17 September) was the day of my surgery.

    I reported to UCSF for the surgery about 10:30 and first got an EKG to clear me for the procedure, which was surprisingly simple and quick. Then I reported to the surgery center across the street.

    I was quickly taken to a preparation room, got into the hospital gown and donned some rather odd “hose” for my legs (apparently to prevent blood clots in the legs?) I had a IV put in, and then was visited by several nurses and the anesthesiologist, who all carefully asked me the same questions over and over again. The “measure twice, cut once” approach seemed very appropriate to the situation!

    My doctor visited quite a long time later (lucky I brought a book to read) and also being careful, put an “X” marks-the-spot on my left ear, and a mark on my left hand from which the vein graft was to come. He explained the procedure to me again; basically, pull back the eardrum, have a look around, free up the stapes and remove, make hole in the footplate, and attach the prosthesis between the incus and the footplate – that was the plan.

    He then gave me a choice of a local or general anesthetic, which was surprising. He said he preferred local because it would allow me to participate by letting him know the performance of my hearing during the operation. I chose local, because it would allow me a shorter recovery time as well.

    After he left, we had another seemingly long wait (my wife was there with me in the room), and I was finally rolled off to surgery around 14:30.

    Now I don’t recall that much about the surgery process – maybe I was a bit too affected by the sedative – although I was awake at least some of the time. I was lying somewhat on my right side and my view was of the bottom of an instrument table. Every once in a while a nurse would crouch down there to have a look at my face or ask me a question occasionally…

    The two things I do clearly remember:
    – The very loud drilling or scraping sounds as my ear parts were being… well, I suppose “sculpted” is a word I could use?
    – The doctor giving me the tuning fork test, I guess while the prosthesis was being positioned.

    In no time at all it seemed I was in the recovery room, having a sip of cranberry juice and some graham crackers (first food since dinner the night before, and first drink since 8:00.) I was given the post-op instructions, some ear drops to keep the packings moist, and a prescription for Vicodin. I had already been given a post-op follow up appointment for next Wednesday.

    On the trip home, I noticed that every sound seemed to be VERY loud, almost to the point of annoyance, in my left ear. I took this to be an excellent sign. I experienced (and still am feeling) some itching in the ear canal during the ride home. I also had slight dizziness.

    Shortly after I got home, I felt a wetness on my ear, and discovered blood leaking past the cotton ball (which was covered by a large band-aid) onto my ear lobe. I read in the post op instructions that I should call them and let them know if there was any bleeding, so I did that. However, I was told by the resident on-call ENT surgeon that it was somewhat normal, and to feel free to change the cotton ball if it is soaked, so long as the packing in the ear canal doesn’t start to come out along with the cotton.

    I’ve noticed that the loudness of my left ear has faded significantly since the ride home, but perhaps this can be attributed to the soaked cotton at this point. Also, if I tilt my head slowly back about 35-40 degrees, I hear a very slight “thump” and experience a moment of vertigo. Slow tilting to the left or right does not cause any change.

    So far, so good. More later….

  45. I had a stapedotomy done in April this year and have been following your blog with interest. All was going well until the last couple of days when I got up with my operated right ear kind of blocked. I pinched my nose and blew a few times and it seemed to help but only momentarily so this morning I went to see the local ENT specialist. (I had the surgery in another state) He told me I have swollen eardrums and prescribed some medication and a hearing test which I hope to take tomorrow. What I need to know is have any of you experienced this kind of thing and could it adversely affect the prosthesis and my hearing?

  46. What a great report. Thank you!

    I am about to make an appointment for this procedure, and your description was extremely helpful.

  47. I’m glad it’s helpful. When I was researching for my surgery I found one account online early in my search then could not find it. So I figured it would be a chance to contribute something useful in the morass of the Internet. I flew to California from Kuwait for my surgery at my cost so I tried to make it a vacation as well! And Kuwait isn’t known for any good Mexican restaurants.

Leave a Reply