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Old 02-24-2012, 04:18 AM   #1
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stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

Hello. I had a stapedectomy on Wednesday Feb 23rd at the Lippy clinic in Warren OH. Dr Berenholz performed the procedure. I am currently about 48 hours post op.

Post op hearing test showed a substantial increase at (I think) 250 & 500 hz. They said the test showed the air hearing level to be pretty close to the level of nerve sensitivity, so that would be about a 30 db improvement in those frequencies.

I had no nausea, but I had pretty intense dizziness like I never felt before during the first few hours, however it subsided enough to the point where I could get dressed and walk around by about 4-5 hours post op. Shortly after that I was discharged. At 48 hours post op, there is still some dizziness when I move my head too rapidly (worse if I move up and down than side to side) but there is noticeable improvement every day.

Other side effects... mild headache, dull pain around the outer ear and right side of my jaw, and the right side of my tongue is a little bit numb. I also have some high pitched tinnitus that comes and goes, which is different than the tinnitus that I had before the surgery, which was more of a low pitched roar or a whooshing sound, kinda like putting your ear on a seashell.

I also had a tremendous amount of bleeding the first day which I did not expect. This seemed to be aggravated by chewing/jaw movement so between that and the numb tongue, I guess I don't have to worry about sitting around overeating while I convalesce. There is also a little bit of pain in my ear when I chew.

As for the hearing, with all the packing in, its hard to evaluate. I can hear some low frequencies that I could not hear before, even through the packing, I guess I would maybe call it the "barrel effect" that some people describe. Or maybe its some kind of resonant peak inside the ear due to the packing? I will say that some low pitched noises are louder already, for example I could hear car engines from outside in my operated ear but not my unoperated ear. I expect this to continue to improve as my ear heals and the packing comes out. Due to the post op hearing test which they do before they put the packing in, I know the procedure was at least initially successful. I have not yet experienced any side effects that would indicate nerve damage, so unless the prosthesis has slipped since I left the clinic, I have no reason to believe there should be any problems. Not all surgeons conduct this post op hearing test, but its incredibly helpful for both the surgeon and the patient. You don't have to wait several weeks to find out if the surgery worked or not, you know pretty much right away.

I have nothing but great things to say about the Lippy clinic. I would highly recommend them. My only complaint was that they didn't give me enough drugs to sleep through the 3 hour post op evaluation period, so I was a bit uncomfortable during that time, but no complaints otherwise. Its been mentioned on the board before but its worth repeating: find the best surgeon you can to do this procedure. I can only imagine how much worse this would be with an inexperienced surgeon.

I'll check back in periodically to update my progress. I hope somebody out there finds this info helpful!

 
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:15 AM   #2
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

Hi mspgh...

you and I are only a few days apart from our surgeries. I had mine on Friday Feb 17th..so today I am one week post op. Packing out this Monday... I had the same as you with the dizziness..but not as bad this surgery as the last..the tongue which I still have today and the pain in the ear too.. It is not as bad now and when I do find it is uncomfortable taking two tylenol does the trick. I too can say that after my surgery I could hear sounds around me..it was amazing..I was in recovery and could hear the nurse on the side of me talking with her patient and I even closed my good ear to see if I was actually hearing. Before the surgery that ear only had 30% hearing. I could also hear my finger rubbing my cotton ball and also my ear which I have not heard forever.. I did notice though that two or three days after everything changed I got so scared..couldn t hear the rubbing at all..cotton ball or my ear..nothing.. My ear had closed up so I just wanted to share this with you...It took about two or three days and I noticed things were starting to change again..I can hear the cotton ball again being rubbed and also my finger on the ear..The sound is different if I block the good ear but I know there is a lot of packing in there.This same thing happen to me last year with my other ear too.. I wanted to ask you..have you noticed any changes in your vision...get a big head so to say at times..almost like foggy..I had this for several day and just noticed yesterday my vision seems to be getting back to normal...this happened to me with my other surgeries also...I had two revisions on my right ear last year and this year was my left...

\I will agree...so worth going thru this...would also say make sure you have a great surgeon that has done this surgery many many times. This is the same surgeon that did my very first stapedectomy back in 1993, my incus eroded why my prosthesis became unattached..So I had alot of confidence in him...

GOOD LUCK TO YOU..and remember...take it slow..don t do to much to fast.not blowing of your nose ..sneeze with your mouth open too...I will not do anything for the next 6 weeks while I am recovering..only walking..my family knows that lifting is not something I will do so my kids will be coming with me food shopping for alittle..even bringing laundry down into the basement..won t do it..just to risky with the balance.. I would say that with my last surgery the 3 month mark seemed to be where I noticed things were getting back to normal..I still had a balance issue here and there but that has always been me..

Keep me updated on your progress
CINDY

 
Old 02-24-2012, 12:35 PM   #3
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

no changes with my vision yet, nothing drastic anyway. a little trouble focusing at times, but that could be from the dizziness and/or the tylenol w/codeine they gave me for the pain.

trying to remember to take it easy. its tempting to try to do too much, especially since I am bored sitting around doing nothing...

I am prepared for some ups and downs.

good luck to you!

 
Old 02-24-2012, 12:40 PM   #4
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

I can so relate to your being bored..I am also there with you.,,but I will say once you do a little bit you are down for the count.. It really exhausted me yesterday just going to the grocery store with my daughter. I was on the way out and said wow I am exhausted I need a nap..she says mom we only went shopping your really that tired...oh ya...exhausted and you know what today I am still tired so I may have really just pushed myself a little to much... But also being that our beautiful sunny warm weather has been replaced with cold snow today...might have something to do with it. yes..welcome to New England... 50's yesterday woke up to snow falling this am..my goodness..

When is your packing coming out???

 
Old 02-24-2012, 02:46 PM   #5
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

I think I have the dissolving packing, they told me to start putting drops of glycerine and peroxide in my ear about a week before my post op visit on march 23rd. I think I have a cotton ball in the ear canal too, which I think I am supposed to remove in a week. I have to call the clinic to make sure I understand that part correctly though, its not something I want to mess with...

the weather here in pittsburgh has been nice, and its tempting to go out, but I think I need a couple more days for some more of the dizziness to wear off before I feel comfortable walking around the neighborhood.

My otosclerosis was moderate on the right side and mild on the left. I am hoping that I wont need surgery on the other side for a while. I have also been taking a flouride supplement since december, I dont think that I have been taking it long enough to tell if its slowing the progression though.

do you take a flouride supplement? do you know if the otosclerosis has spread to your cochlea?

 
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:55 PM   #6
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

I do not take a fluoride suppliment..I knew about this when I was in my early 20s. I am now 48. I was told it was heritary and something I had in both ears.I was not told it had spread to my cocleaer. I also have a dissolving gel foam in my inner ear.. but packing in the canal.. I waited about 5 or6 days before heading outside too..even today I am taking it super slow..balance is still an issue at times

Especially if I am tired

 
Old 02-27-2012, 07:14 AM   #7
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

Day 6 Update...

Most of the dizziness is gone now, I feel like I can pretty much move my head normally without the crazy room spinning intense dizziness that I would get if I moved my head up or down too quickly. I think its probably been a day or two since I had the really bad dizziness. Still a bit wobbly at times, but as far as dizziness goes I am probably 90% back to normal.

There is still some pain in the ear canal, but again, that feels like its getting a little bit better every day. There is still some mild pain when I chew and open my jaw up very widely. No bleeding since last Wednesday.

No real change in hearing yet. High pitched tinnitus comes and goes. The ear is still blocked up. I dont think I have noticed any major changes in hearing since I got home from surgery. Some low frequencies are getting through. Chewing sounds are really loud in my head and its really loud if I scratch my head, which suggests that the nerve is good. I tried to sort of mimic a tuning fork test by playing some music on my iphone and holding it to my teeth and my forehead. Sounds kinda weird, I know, but I think it was actually a good test and it was reassuring since it was equally loud on both sides.

The worst part right now is the blocked up ear feeling and not being able to hear anything. My left ear has mild hearing loss from otosclerosis, and I am pretty much relying solely on that ear until the right ear heals. When I go back to work on wednesday its going to be difficult to function with one ear.

I'll post another update in a bit...

 
Old 02-27-2012, 12:04 PM   #8
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

10 post op...

I am very excited to get the packing out this evening...It is def. driving me crazy...just that there is something stuffed in my ear feeling... If I block my good ear I can def. hear something..nothing loud but I can hear something... I have noticed that if I talk I get this chipmunk voice on that side which is my own... and also some voices that I am hearing are coming in with an echo and also chipmunk sort of..I do believe this is part of the healing process... I kind of remember this back in 93 when I had the first surgery done...getting really scared because everything had that underwater sound..which I guess I could say is like this... I will be curious to see what the hearing is like when the packing is removed...

Will update later

Cindy

 
Old 02-27-2012, 03:34 PM   #9
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

just got back from the doctors...WOW is all i can say...I can hear so loudly on that side...actually is really strange to me right now...I do not remember the last time I heard from that side. I have noticed since he took out the packing the echo chipmunk is there but not so bad...here and there..but he did say it would get better...lots of healing still to come....But I am hearing amazing right now.. I was sitting in the kitchen and actually could hear the truck going down the road..which is the road next over...

Just need to take it easy the next 5 weeks...which will be when I get my hearing tested and see where we are...I am past happy with my results so far....I have to say that I think this surgery was not to bad...my dizziness was nothing compared to my last but he did expect that he said...and it really only lasted about 4 days then it was better this time maybe 2..and I only needed one day of someone to help me. My first day back to work is tomorrow..I am wondering how that will be...i work with children..so it should be pretty loud to say the least LOl I will have my cotton ball ready to go...

Cindy

 
Old 02-28-2012, 05:29 AM   #10
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

Glad to hear your hearing is getting better Cindy. you are what? a week ahead of me? that gives me something to look forward to...

I think something is starting to break up in my ear. I can feel my operated ear popping when I swallow sometimes. I am also noticing some improvement in hearing, especially in low frequencies. I was making coffee this morning and I noticed that my fridge is extremely loud. I have had this fridge for 5 or 6 years and I never noticed that it made noise before.

I may have overdone it yesterday because I had some nausea, but I did alot of running around. I also had sort of a mild headache, on and off for about the past 24-48 hours. I am also starting to hear my pulse in my ear when I get alot of blood flow to my head, like when I lay down or when I walk around.

 
Old 02-28-2012, 10:12 AM   #11
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

I think I am only 5 days ahead of you...I had my surgery on the 17th... I will say that my hearing is sometimes distorted..donald duck like...especially if the volumn is up any...it also depends on the tones I am noticing..but like I said i do remember this back in 93..actually calling my doctor not understanding what had happened. I know he said fluid..blood..and also relearning was happening..our brain has to relearn all this hearing again. And for me it has been so many years so my head is confused.

I think you may have over done it from what you are saying...I have the same thing happen to me when I over do it...when are you back to work? I thought this Wed. My first day back was today...I run an in home daycare so my goodness it is loud at times...but putting that cotton ball into my ear has been helping... I will admit right now I am exhausted..so I am looking forward to this nap period to energize my batteries..

As far as the heartbeat...I had that also..but this surgery only a very little bit..I was actually surprised as the past two surgeries it was so bothersome...actually had me up at night with it..but not so bad this time..I do have it but more off then on. I too had the headaches myself...

It is funny that you talk about your fridge...I woke up this am and said to my hubby something is wrong with the fridge it is super loud I think it is on its last leg..he looks at me and says nope..that is how a fridge sounds but you are hearing it with your bionic ear...LOL I know my doctor said that as things progress it will tone done in there.. But I sure am enjoying hearing the world from my left ear..something I have not done in such a long time...

keep me posted on your recovery....anything you are experiencing and not sure of ask away...I may have experienced it....

cindy

 
Old 03-01-2012, 09:57 AM   #12
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

Quick update today... not too much change, my ear feels clogged,

I think the packing is loose and its starting to dissolve. Either that or there is fluid in the ear. Most of the time when I am standing upright the ear feels sort of open where low frequency sounds are getting through but not much of the highs. But then if I lay down it seems to get blocked up and I can't hear as well.

I get the occasional cracking and popping noise, which I suspect is packing or fluid or dried blood moving against the eardrum. Chewing/talking/swallowing sometimes makes it pop. This is all pretty much the same as its been since Tuesday morning.

There isn't really any pain at all at this point. I think this is the first day where I won't take any pain meds at all (last two days I took some ibuprofen for a dull/mild earache and headache).

I have maybe a teeny tiny little bit of lingering dizziness, but its very very mild.

Every day I feel a little better, although there hasn't been much change in the hearing since Tuesday morning. I'm getting a bit impatient actually, because I want to clean my ear out. I have a feeling that I would hear much better if I could get the gunk out. Unfortunately I'm not due for the post op appt until March 23rd...

I still have some tinnitus. I noticed the same low pitched tinnitus in my left (unoperated) ear now, which was previously my "good" ear. I never noticed tinnitus in that ear pre op. I suspect its my brain adjusting to all the low frequency info thats now getting through in my operated ear.

 
Old 03-01-2012, 11:13 AM   #13
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

your packing is staying in there longer then mine did..only 10 days for me and yes when he took it out my hearing was 100% better..I honestly was thinking it did not work so well because i could not hear out of the packing as I did last year with my other ear..but it also was a revision last year..not sure if that made a difference.

I have been on and off with the tylenol...yesterday my ear felt like it needed a break...working with children can get very loud at times..but I am not complaining at all... I still have the tones and voices coming in as donald duck at times still but I know that is due to the fluid..

Take it easy and don t do to much..I can def tell when I do to much... Also I wanted to add when I had the packing in my ear I was experiencing tinnitus in my operated ear...once the packing came out not so much..but I have always had it and still do in the other ear but not all the time...

can you hear your finger if you rub your ear at all....Icould with the packing in there...so werid was not something I could hear before my surgery...

 
Old 03-01-2012, 11:38 AM   #14
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

Oh yeah, I can hear my finger rub my ear. I can hear alot through the operated ear. Its muffled sound but its loud. Much louder overall than my unoperated ear, but not much high frequency content so not much detail in the sound.

I think the packing I have is the stuff that dissolves on its own. A week before the follow up appt on the 23rd I have to start putting peroxide and glycerin in the ear, which I think breaks up dried blood and whatever is left of the packing. I imagine at that time the hearing should open up a bit more and improve. Thats still two weeks away though and I'm hoping it just kind of clears up a bit on its own. I sort of anticipate at least some gradual improvement before then.

 
Old 03-02-2012, 03:26 AM   #15
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Re: stapedectomy report - feb 23rd 2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by mspgh View Post
Oh yeah, I can hear my finger rub my ear. I can hear alot through the operated ear. Its muffled sound but its loud. Much louder overall than my unoperated ear, but not much high frequency content so not much detail in the sound.

I think the packing I have is the stuff that dissolves on its own. A week before the follow up appt on the 23rd I have to start putting peroxide and glycerin in the ear, which I think breaks up dried blood and whatever is left of the packing. I imagine at that time the hearing should open up a bit more and improve. Thats still two weeks away though and I'm hoping it just kind of clears up a bit on its own. I sort of anticipate at least some gradual improvement before then.
High frequencies will improve over time, months if like mine. I would not be too concerned about high frequencies or other sensations this soon, things will gradually improve with time. Main thing is to be careful and take care of the ear, this is a crucial time of healing.

 
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