Having read some interesting and informative threads on ‘stapedectomy’ I thought I would give a UK perspective on my recent operation. I’m not sure if there has been many UK individuals who have posted in here, but in any case, if there has been, then I’m sure one more thread won’t make that much difference.
Firstly, in March 2013, I had to go for a pre-op. For anyone who may not know what this is, it is simply a number of tests such as blood pressure, urine samples, weight; swabs for detecting ‘MRSA’ and a plethora of questions asked.
Then the following month, I had the operation. The day of the operation I saw a couple of surgeons who informed me about the operation, side effects and such like. I was also given the chance to ask some questions. Finally, I was given some support socks to reduce the chances of a blood clot occurring.
As I was first one in theatre that day, I was the first one to leave. I was given a general anesthetic and then it was off to sleep. When I woke up, I felt as if I was choking and a little delirious. Thankfully a nurse was at hand who reassured me everything was fine. I do recall at this point, that my right ear felt like water hitting the drum and it felt tingly. There was a slight pain but not anything to worry about from my perspective. My real interest was knowing if my ear could hear or not. The sound was muffled but I could hear. This gave me the confidence that the ear was not dead.
When I was moved to the ward, I noticed there was a little leakage. I told the nurse, who gave put some cotton in my ear. At this point, I felt nausea and a little dizzy but I was not in pain.
I was discharged the following day and my girlfriend picked me up to take me home to my parents. I then got myself into bed with the socks that the ‘NHS had given me. It was only when I was at home that the sounds like the front door and people talking become more salient to my ears. However, I still had fresh cotton buds in my ear to prevent leakage: the ear was not bandaged up.
I did sleep on my left side for about a week and took my time blowing my nose: I had picked up a chest infection and cold-something that should be avoided according to what I read in another forum. In any case, there’s not much one can do if one picks one up is there?
However, after four days, something very odd happened. I noticed that I was hearing different pitches in both ears! Thinking I had ‘diplacusis’ this was extremely worrying: I write and play classical guitar. So, you can imagine my fear, apprehensiveness and worry when this happened to me. However, this evaporated after the seventeenth day and the pitch is the same in both ears.
I must say that I’m so far pleased with the results of the operation and no doubt will get the my left ear done next year as it is below the average rating.
I would like to however, just add a few things that may be beneficial to those who are planning on having the surgery or who have had the operation. This would include:
-If you are to carry a bag, make sure it has wheels, the last thing you want to do at this stage is to be carrying weight. I was amazed at how many people were carrying bags! DON’T.
-When you have a shower or bath, insure that you use cotton buds with 'Vaseline' on the outside to prevent the ear becoming infected.
-Try not to exert yourself for the first seven days. Trust me, it can be tempting to do this as there is nothing wrong with the body, just the ear. Had it not been for my cough and cold, I no doubt would of done more physical things.
-If, like me, you hear different pitches in your ear, it may discontinue-it maybe the ear healing itself. In any case, give it between two-to-three weeks to see if it changes.
-There was no ear packing to be removed. A lot of people have had ear packing after the operation. I expected to have this done, but didn’t receive this.
I should also point out, I’ve heard post operation stories from people who have had the operation only to find that after a number of years, their ears have deteriorated and they have had to wear hearing aids once again. This I am sad to read. I’m not sure the percentage of this happening. So I cannot commit. However, there is a chance of risks and complications regarding this and just about any type of operation. Also, everyone is different. All I can say, is that I’m pleased I took the chance to have it done and yes I was extremely apprehensive about it: took me nearly a year to ask for the operation to be carried out. But, I am so pleased with the results. The sound I am hearing is much wider in my right ear and sounds more powerful too. So while there is a risk, the choice is up to the individual.
Last edited by dissonance; 05-05-2013 at 12:21 PM.
Hi, I had a Stapedectomy in 1988 because in my case I had Otosclerosis. I had no discomfort whatsoever bar a clicking sound in the affected ear when I turned my head in a certain way. This lasted for only a couple of hours and was discharged from the ENT hospital in London two days later. The operation was a complete success in that it cured my tinnitus and gave me 90% of my hearing back. However in 2003 my hearing deteriorated and the tinnitus returned albeit not as bad. I had to wear a CIC aid which masked the tinnitus completely by allowing the ear to function correctly. I was told that Stapedectomy operations are not permanent as the Otosclerosis can spread to the cochlear. I am now having to wear hearing aids in both ears as my hearing in the left ear which had the Stapedectomy is about 25% normal. Tinnitus can be a pain at times but I have more or less resigned myself to having to live with it. I hope your Stapedectomy is more permanent than mine and that your second one likewise.
Hi Grumpy, I'm really sorry to hear about your recent problems following your 'stapedectomy.' I do hope you will improve and the tinnitus will be reduced in time. Do post some information regarding your improvement as that can be very encouraging for those of us who may be under going similar episodes like yourself.
I must also point out, according to my surgeon, there are a number of factors that can increase or decrease problems resulting from the surgery. These would be age, and health and lifestyle choices.
One of the problems that I have found to be a little irritating is that people who have had successful and unsuccessful stapedectomy have not factored in their health. So, the operation per se may be a success but people's health and age may play a factor in increasing complications and which has has nothing to do with the surgery itself.
Last edited by dissonance; 05-10-2013 at 02:11 PM.
Hi Dissonance. I was 38 when I underwent a Stapedectomy on my left ear and my general health at the time was excellent playing Table Tennis at county standard and trained with weights at least three times a week. As with all surgery there is an element of risk however minor what with infections that can set in or a delicate operation like a Stapedectomy just going wrong. Maybe differences in patients prognosis is due the surgeons personal etc. way of carrying out a procedure i.e. the type of prosthesis used etc.
Another problem I had was that in 2006 I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer which required extensive surgery and four courses of chemotherapy as a back up safety net. One of the drugs they gave me was intravenous Cisplatinum which is known to be ototoxic and they warned me my hearing may get worse but I considered I had little choice. Being clear from Cancer since has obviously been a relief and any loss of hearing I have suffered has been worth it as I have bought better hearing aids to compensate. As for Tinnitus levels at the moment they are bearable and range from being a bit of a nuisance to hardly anything at all - especially when my family visit me with my Grandsons! I have read some theses about an excess amount of Glutamate being present and Glutamate reducing drugs has significantly improved some folks tinnitus levels. Apparently Glutamate over excites the nerve cells in the cochlea. Oh, by the way have never been a visitor to discos or concerts so I do not think my tinnitus and hearing loss was due to loud noise in the first place. Just plain unlucky I suppose. C'est la vie!
I was pleased to read 'GOM' that you are clear of cancer . That must have been a relief for you and your family etc. So, though I don't know you personally, one cannot help but feel happiness reading this.
Regarding the stapedectomy. The effects of the operation both in the short and long term have a lot to do not only with the person's health but also with the 'skill' of the surgeon too. So, it's a good idea if an individual asks questions regarding how experienced is the surgeon. Also, as it was in 1988 that you had the operation, I am presuming that technology and research may have caused surgeons to revise their way of working. So, that may also play a factor too. In any case, like you said it may be just 'plain unlucky' that the stapedectomy didn't survive for you. I do sincerely hope that something can be done for you (in the future) without you having to wear hearing aids etc.