Hello! I have been diagnosed with otosclerosis, after I had noticed some hearing impairment. I have decided to go for stapendectomy, and am curious about what I can expect after the surgery. All info welcome! Thx
Hi! Most patients go home the evening or the morning after the surgery was done. You may expirence some dizziness for the first couple of days. You won’t notice hearing improvement a couple of days after the surgery, as some packing is places in the ear canal during the surgery. You will notice an improvement in hearing after the initial healing stage (4-6 weeks). Hearing continues to improve for months. It may happen that for the taste sensation to be altered for several weeks or months following the stapedectomy operation because a small taste nerve is passing through the ear. Complications are quite rare but contact your doctor if you have problems with hearing loss, pain, dizziness, or any new symptom related to the operated ear. Good luck!
The results are immediate. I could hear as soon as I woke up, and the dr. tapped my ear. I could hear thru all the cotton. Recovery took 6-8 weeks. On the third day, however, I experience the worst migraine. I think it was the body trying to reject the artificial bone. Do not try to lift, or clean or go back to work, too soon. The world is a very noisy place and you are not used to that. You will get sick.
Also, I had this done 1 1/2 weeks ago and have had the canal cleaned just once, I still can't hear much (worse than before even!) is this normal?
So, I thought that it might be beneficial to post up here what I am learning, and experiencing.
I had a stapendectomy on Wed. 11/28/07. Today is Wed. 12/5/07. The one week mark in recovery.
I have suffered from otosclerosis since college. I had a stapendectomy that failed in my left ear when I was 22 years old. I am now 54. The hearing in my right ear had diminished to the point of profound deafness. Even a powerful hearing aid was not good enough to hear all conversations, and telephone calls. I was actually being considered for a cochlear implant, but during the auditory testing phases, it was noted that my nerve function in my right ear was actually quite good. So, the doctor recommended a stapendectomy on my right (and only functional) ear. Having had this fail once before (left ear totally deaf), I guess I was understandably nervous. But, here's how it's going so far;
For the stapendectomy operation, they will inject some stuff around your ear to numb it. They give you an IV set up and take you into the operating room. You're not unconscious, and you can tell what's going on. Since I'm deaf in my left ear, and no good without a hearing aid on my right, the doctor had printed up signs that said what was going on, and the nurse would hold them in front of my face during this procedure, so that I could better anticipate the sounds of drilling and popping during the operation. There was no serious pain or discomfort during this operation. Towards the end, I could hear sounds within the operating room. People's voices, etc... At the end, the doctor spoke up and asked how I was hearing. It was a little be garbled, but I could hear.
I came home the same afternoon as the surgery. My wife drove, of course. I had a pillow in the car which made the trip home a bit more relaxing. Unlike a previous post here saying to lie flat, the doctor told me that I was supposed to stay upright, and laying down with my head and upper body at 30 to 45 degrees. He said not to lay on the operated ear at all. For the first couple of nights at home, I slept in a recliner chair. No nose blowing, no sneezing if you can help it, and sneeze with your mouth open if you have to. Do not get your ear wet. Follow instructions for the bandage and what the doctor wants you to look out for, excessive pain, neck aches, twitches, bleeding, etc... Fortunately, I didn't have any of those problems. But, as some other former hearing aid wearers like me might have a habit of doing... don't pinch your nose and pop your ears. I have accidentally done this a couple of times. Ouch, don't do this. Eat soft foods, drink lots of water, take your medications as directed. Don't strain, don't lift heavy things, don't bend over and pick things up. Stay home and rest as long as you can. Don't push your recovery, even if you "feel good". The doctor will probably prescribe you some Tylenol #3, take those as directed if you're having pain, but don't take them if you're not. Make sure you have gone over any other medications that you are taking with your doctor. They'll ask you all this before surgery. Most of the instructions for post surgery recovery are written down for you to follow.
Here's what isn't written down. At first, with successful surgery, you will hear things. Depending of what your pre-surgical hearing level was, you will probably hear better than I did, but I heard quite a bit. After the first day, there will be some increased swelling and fluid build up within your ear. Sound will diminish, your voice might sound like it's totally within your own head, and, if you're like me, you will panic some. I thought I was losing my hearing again (as mentioned above, I had this fail on the left side many years previous). The second day post surgery is also stuffy and garbled sounds, or no sound sounds. I panicked a bit more. The swelling and fluid is all part of the normal healing process. Using a cold pack a few times a day helped me to relax and sit still and think calmly. By the 4th day, you will probably be hearing the bangs of cupboard doors, dishes, dogs barking, etc... A lot of sharp loud noises were so intense that I was shocked. When my dog barked, I literally jumped. On the fifth day, I put a pair of headphones on (not hooked up to anything of course) while I was doing dishes because the clatter of the plates and bowls seemed so loud to me.
On the sixth day I was hearing most verbal conversations, and I could hear on the telephone. Not 100%, but for a long time hearing aid user like me, what I was hearing now without a hearing aid at all (and with wadding still inside my ear canal) was simply miraculous! My hearing level does not remain consistent. I've found that walking around, sitting, or different positions will cause a fluid shift in my ear. Also, a loud noise, or if my ear pops while swallowing, or something, will cause my hearing level to change. All through this so far, there are little cracks and pops that will occasionally occur. This is normal.
And now, on the 7th day, I am going to rest. This is still important. I can tell you that one big difference between my two stapendectomies is that I'm now a lot smarter than I was at age 22. Even if you feel fine, keep resting. Do not push this. I did at 22, and I lost my hearing in my left ear. Follow all the doctor's instruction exactly. EXACTLY. And, if you are spiritual, pray. I did, and a lot. Give your fears rest with God, count the blessings that you have, and remember that you should live to love each day. Try to know what you believe.
I will post again next week with a 14 day update. One frustration here on this website is that some people that have described problems never post again. A reader is left wondering how things worked out. I know that on my second day post-surgery, when I was fearful of becoming totally deaf, I found this website, and I can't say that it allayed my fears. So, hopefully my own 'progress report' will help some of you going through this process.
Came back to edit. I should have mentioned that almost everything tastes salty to me. I've heard (no pun intended) that the taste nerve runs through the area where the operation happens and it can be disturbed. Word is that this should return to normal.
Also, my hearing has now decreased. It's the 10th day. I don't have any symptoms of any problems at all. I'm have my return visit to the doctor on the 21st (13 more days). The decrease in hearing does have me concerned.
Updating, its now Sunday December 23rd. I had the packing removed and am quite disappointed that there was no improvement in my hearing. I am still down from the immediate post surgical success result. On the bright side, I am hearing better than I was pre-surgery, but I know that I was hearing better.
So, what is wrong? Could be nothing. The vertigo that I have been experiencing over the last week and a half, is due to some fluid leaking into my middle ear. The doctor says to wait and see. If it doesn't improve on it's own, he will likely re-open my ear to repair the leak. He would re-check the position of the piston to make sure it's proper at that time. On the other hand, if the fluid leak stops on its own, my hearing could recover again, as this loss may simply be due to excess fluid in my middle ear. Or, the leak might stop, my balance would recover, and I still might not hear very well. My impression is that the doctor would be reluctant to re-operate if my balance improves but my hearing does not. This is because I do show improvement over pre-surgery. That's a troubling thought to me, because my post surgery hearing was simply astounding. Now, basically,... well, its better than was before, but not nearly as good as I know it could be, and wish it was. I will update again in another couple of weeks to a month. That's my current wait and see assignment.
I am still off balance, but my hearing is stable and works well. The doctor wants to continue in a conservative way and we will wait on any corrective surgery for leakage (if that's what is causing the imbalance) It isn't that bad, but I don't think I could drive a car all that safely. I can walk around fine. I can't stand on one leg with my eyes closed. But, who does that in real life. I probably look slightly drunk to the parking lot observers watching me walk, but that's about the only discomfort. No headaches or seasickness.
Another thing for people that might have very bad hearing (like I did) before this stapendectomy... When my hearing turned on again, I had super hearing. Then it fell off. I thought something was wrong. Not really, my hearing nerves had been underutilized for 25 years, and suddenly they were over stimulated via the stapendectomy. It was a case of nervous shock, that's all. When the nerves settled down, my hearing went down some. Of course I'm disappointed a bit, but that also explains why the dogs barking and dishes clattering were so explosively loud too. So, if your own hearing falls off a little like mine did, don't panic.
I had a stapendectomy in my right hear about 4 months ago. I have more hearing than before, but not as much as I was hoping. I am not wearing hearing aides, which I did previously in both ears. My doctor today suggested I try the florical tabs and see if that helps for the next 6 months. I believe that both surgeries were well worth the recovery. I am thankful to not wear hearing aids and I can hear on the phone now. I can hear my students in the classroom, which previously even with hearing aides was a struggle. So I am very glad for what success I do have.
My condition: I am a 32 years old male. Was hearing very little range of frequencies in my left ear, due to inherited otosclerosis from my mum. Hearing people sitting on my left side was a struggle, in a noisy place forget about it. I always tried to position myself to the left of the group so that my good ear would be aimed at the conversation. It was very frustrating. I knew how frustrating it was growing up in a household with my mum who was so hard of hearing(she herself was always frustrated with her two hearing aids). So when i discovered it was possible to have an operation to improve the condition rather than using hearing aids i jumped at the chance when my surgeon who 3 years previously declined my need for an operation, suggested i have it after my hearing declined much further in that time.
The operation: I was under general anaesthetic. Doctor told me a platinum/teflon prosthesis was used. Was told my ear drum was removed completely as part of the surgery and then replaced. He said there was a little difficulty removing the stape from the footplate but that was it.
Day 1: Very groggy as expected after the general anaesthetic. My first visit to the toilet was very shaky. My balance was all over the place. Had to sit down just to urinate. The whole world was spinning and it wouldnt stop eventhough i concentrated hard on getting my eyes focused on one thing. The spinning died down once i was back in bed and keeping my eyes shut helped. Due to the anaesthetic drugs or the spinning effect i couldnt keep some simple orange juice down that evening. I got some extra medication(a shot of some drug in my leg) to prevent nausea. I eventually got to eat some bread and some ice cream and jelly later that evening. I had cotton wool applied in my ear. Did not notice any significant pain. Did not notice any improvement in my hearing straight away.
Day 2: The doctor removed the cotton wool and inspected the wound. He didnt say much, apart from not avoiding a sudden movement of my head, and when showering not to aim the nozzle at my ear. I wasnt instructed to sleep on my back in an elevated position or the like. I was prescribed the following, sofradex antiseptic ear drops to be taken 3 times daily for 7 days. Erythromycin antibiotics to take for 7 days. Diazepam(valium) for my balance for 7 days. During the day i did start to notice that there was some change happening with regard to my hearing in my left ear. I did notice my balance was much improved the next morning. No nausea and i was eating as normal.
By evening time i was venturing down the corridor with a friend staying close to the handrails. I was feeling no nausea or any kind of pain at this stage. I did get some minor tinnitus attack lasting no more that 5 seconds on a couple of occasions. When removing the cotton balls from my ears after each application of the ear drops, there was quite alot of discharge on them initially.
I have already noticed the common side affect of my taste buds not acting quite right. Everything has a saltier taste to it.
Day 3: The doctor came to see me again and recommended i stay in hospital one more night on account of my shaky balance. He was right with this decision. Was getting encouraging signs with regard to my hearing but i knew that significant improvement was not going to happen over night. The discharge on the cotton balls decreased.
Day 4: Left the hospital, walking around freely on my own at a slow pace. Not looking around me that much as i walk. My only real dizzy spells are when i lie down in bed, the world spins for a few seconds. I believe this is due to the fluid in my ear. Not sure as to when this fluid is to dissipate but as far as i am concerned the sooner the better.The discharge on the cotton balls decreased further.
Day 5 - 29th September: The signs of improvement in my hearing comes and goes. Some days i have hour or so (5%)long spells where my ear feels totally blocked, my own voice seems muted and internal. Other times(30%) it feels clear and i am beginning to hear sounds that i couldnt before(but at no where near the levels of my good ear but an improvement anyhow) and other times(60%)it just is back to normal where i cant hear much. Other times(5%) i have spells of over sensitive hearing where traffic and the sound of stacking crockery causes me to wince. Since i have stopped taking the medication, my only dizzy spells i encounter is when i lie down. These dizzy spells are more severe now than before and i feel totally disorientated for anywhere between 5-10 seconds. It is not a nice sensation at all. Think i am going to try and sleep with a second pillow under my head from now on. Again its due to the fluid in my ear, and hope i am not adversly affecting anything.
I sometimes get a slight pain reminder that lasts a few seconds that reminds me i had an operation, that is the only slight bit of pain i have suffered since the operation which is a very welcome surprise.
After day 6 there was no discharge on the cotton balls that i had inserted in my ear. I kept a cotton ball in my ear continually for the first 7 days, i know only insert them when i enter the shower.
I am due to see the doctor/surgeon again on October the 23rd.
I am hoping the dizzi spells when lying down go away soon and that my hearing improves in a more consistent manner in the next few weeks/months...otherwise i would not consider the operation a success.
I intend to keep an upate of my progression over the next few weeks. The saltier taste sensation/side affect is still present but this should be just temporary.
Rome wasnt built in a day!
Now 22 years later I have lost the hearing over time, and am looking at another surgery. I can only hope over time the procedure has advanced, and will prove to be successful and worth it. I don't want a hearing aide if at all possible.
Update on what has happened with me. As written above and up to last summer 2008.... my hearing had improved over pre-stapendectomy testing but I was having too many strange noises, and my balance was screwed up. The doctor had thought that there was a perilymph fistula. A leak. Most commonly, this happens at the footplate of the stapes (which was removed). He was averse to operating because, 1- my hearing could be lost, 2- my balance problem could be a weird coincidence, 3- he might not be able to fix it. I elected to have the exploratory surgery, and this was done in late September of 2008. It is now August of 2009.
Exploratory surgery showed that my middle ear area was damaged (whether by the first surgery, or whether by post surgical trauma of some sort... who knows, and it doesn't really matter) and the doctor did some patching where he though there might have been some leaking, or where it looked weak enough to leak. He filled my middle ear with some sort of goo and put my eardrum (hunk of ear lobe) back in, and wadding.
Recovery-- mixed. My hearing is still good/better than it was. Risk one was averted, but my balance is still shot. The doctor says it won't get worse, which is some saving grace anyway. I walk like a drunk sometimes. Sitting still is fine. Daytime driving is hard. Driving at night might be dangerous. My labyrinth system is shot, and I'm depending on my eyesight and feet for balance. Impede one or the other, or both, and I risk falling over.
Example: If I wade out into the lake, the soft sand bottom, and the pushing of the waves makes it very hard to walk. If I go out neck high, close my eyes, jump and lift my legs to dunk under the water, I lose all sense of direction. It is panic inducing, and I've nearly drowned. I now understand how it is possible for people to drown in water less than 6' deep. Darkness is a problem. Early morning/night and walking into my closet, if there are clothes laying on the floor and I step on them, over I go. Its very frustrating. Public appearance and the worry that others think I am drunk is embarrassing, and I find myself staying at home more now. I was in the construction business (roofing industry-commercial inspection) and had to close my company because I can no longer safely climb ladders, or work up high, or even on the ground for that matter. I have not filed for disability. The doctor did say, however, that he would fill out the forms if I did choose to do this. I'm hoping that I can come up with another business idea, or employment, that will allow my limitations and still be gainful for me and helpful to others.
My next hearing test is in at the beginning of 2010. I am very pleased with the improved hearing. The balance thing is crummy, but it could be worse I suppose. If you're considering this operation, and you're older, make sure to ask your doctor about this fistula business, and how to best avoid it, or deal with it. I went through 8 weeks of balance therapy, and it's simply learning how to deal with the problem. There's no cure for it.
I've become depressed. My family has noted it. I've noted it. Time to work on that now.