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  • Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

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    Old 07-20-2013, 01:20 AM   #1
    Chance Fate
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    Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

    Hey there everyone.

    At the end of next month they are going to cut me open... a middle ear exploration with possible Stapedotomy vs. possible Ossiculoplasty.

    I have had hearing difficulties ever since I was a kid. Chronic ear infections that led to tubes being put in. In my teens and 20s they did two exploratory surgeries to try and figure out what was going on and why my hearing was deteriorating. They discovered a cholesteatoma, scar tissue and that the bone protecting all my inner ear bones was honeycombed.

    I was diagnosed with Otosclerosis, and fairly recently, after getting a second opinion, it was suggested that the cause may be genetic.

    I have a near total conductive hearing loss in both ears. Without my hearing aids I am pretty much deaf. I have been asking for years about what could be done, but 6 months ago or so there was such a significant drop in my remaining conductive hearing that I saw another doctor and he referred me to a specialist in my area.

    I'll be having surgery next month and I'm just really nervous about it. I've had a lot of medical issues in my life and I'm just hoping this will be one thing that goes as planned and can "fix" me. I have been reading though all the posts here and I just hope that it's true what they say about people who have issues speaking out more than those who had things go right.

    I'll try to post my experience here, good or bad so people can see how things are going for me.

    Thanks

     
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    Old 08-24-2013, 11:41 PM   #2
    Chance Fate
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    Re: Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

    Only 5 days away now... and I am having a lot of anxiety. They gave me some Ativan to take at night to help me sleep... I'm just having a hard time because I've had a lot of surgeries in my life and I always get nervous beforehand.

    I am trying not to hold out too much hope. It would be awesome if I didn't have to wear my hearing aids at all anymore.

    Just think good thoughts for me guys. Thanks!

     
    Old 08-25-2013, 01:53 PM   #3
    mspgh
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    Re: Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

    Good luck!

    I have had two stapedectomies; one on each ear. The first (right ear: about a year and half ago) was a tremendous success, and the second (left ear) seems to be successful as well, although I am only two weeks into recovery and its a little early to tell for sure, however so far everything seems to indicate a positive result.

    I've posted details of my experience and I encourage you to do the same. I definitely think its helpful to others suffering from otosclerosis. They may stumble across these threads as I did, looking for first hand accounts of stapedectomy recovery.

    I do think a disproportionate number of the accounts on this board skew to the negative side, because the people that have successful stapedectomies are less likely to continue searching the internet for answers, rather they just get on with their lives, so don't let negative stories discourage you.

    Before you have the surgery, let me ask you: where are you having the surgery and who is performing the procedure? how many stapedectomies has the surgeon performed? what is their success rate?

    I ask because I caution anybody that is considering the procedure to have only an experienced surgeon perform their stapedectomy. If you can, find somebody that specializes in it. I didn't settle for any less and I would suggest the same to anybody else.

     
    Old 08-25-2013, 03:35 PM   #4
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    Smile Re: Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

    Hey there mspgh,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I have noticed the negative skew here. If people went solely by the things posted on this board no one would ever get ear surgery! I'd be terrified.

    I have been reading your posts though, about your first surgery and this recent one. I am very glad to hear things went well for you, and they seem to be going even better this time.

    I am a member of Kaiser, so my surgeon is Dr. Michelle Inserra at Kaiser Santa Clara. She will be assisted by another woman whose name I don't recall, but they are both ear specialists and both have done many of these procedures. When meeting with her she assured me that safety is her big concern and that if they get in there, look around and see that the surgery would be too risky, they would simply not do the operation.

    I have a complicated medical history, and have had ear problems ever since I was a kid, so she said she wanted to have her co-worker who is also an ear specialist there... so I'll have two very highly trained surgeons on my side.

    Despite that I am obviously still nervous... but it's encouraging to read at least some of the stories here on this site about how people's procedures were a success.

    Thank you so much for replying to me... I was starting to feel a little lonely here... and I truly wish you a fast and total recovery yourself. I will keep updating this thread so people know how my surgery went and what my experiences are.

    I'll have to come back on later and ask you a few specific questions about all this.

     
    Old 08-26-2013, 06:27 AM   #5
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    Re: Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

    No you are not alone. The board has been slow, and I think there were more active posters around the time I had my first stapedectomy, but I think people come in waves, and I dont think people stick around long term. However I think its so very helpful to leave a record for those people that come here looking for info. Its a great resource.

    Feel free to ask away!

     
    Old 09-04-2013, 10:47 PM   #6
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    Re: Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

    Well I did promise I'd come back and report, for better or for worse. So here is what happened.

    I have not talked to my surgeon in person yet because I was in recovery for extra time and by the time I woke up, she was in her next surgery... but by talking to my family and to her in email this is the basics.

    They got inside and went to the footplate of the stapes. Everything appeared to fine, but upon using the laser they found that the bone was MUCH thicker then it appeared. Multiple times they turned up the power of the laser, trying to make a dent in things so to speak. Finally both surgeons decided to give up. The main one explained to me that if they turned up the power of the laser any higher, they were risking deafness and permanent vertigo.

    She explained to me beforehand that she was going to exercise caution. If it looked like they could not go forward without the high risk of something bad happening, they would put a stop to it.

    So that is that. The surgery was a failure. It's possible they could try on my right ear, but I have a feeling the same thing would happen. My otoclarosys has gotten so bad that they just could not do anything. I wonder if I should have tried this earlier... if more could have been done if I had done this years ago.

    My surgeon wants me to look to the future... so next year when the FDA will approve the BAHA for use with people with otoclarosys. She says things look promising and thinks this is my best bet going forward.

    On a totally different note, it took them 7 frickin' times to get the IV in my arm. I have a very severe fear of needles, and by the time they got the needle in for sure, I was almost hysterical, and of course they could not give me anti-anxiety meds without the IV in.

    Anyway... that's my story. Thank you Mspgh for your kind words and encouragement. I wish my surgery could have been as successful as yours.

     
    Old 09-05-2013, 08:37 AM   #7
    mspgh
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    Re: Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

    wow. Very sorry to hear that.

    Did they use the phrase "obliterated footplate"? I believe that some surgeons will drill out a footplate even if its really bad but yes, there is a much higher risk of damage to the inner ear.

    I hate to keep harping on this point but how many stapedectomies has your surgeon performed? Is she just like a general ENT surgeon? What is her specialty? I googled Michelle Inserra, and if I found the right person, I must say she looks rather young. I don't doubt that she is a capable surgeon, but there are surgeons out there that have performed thousands of stapedectomies. Some have done 10,000, and some have even done 20,000 and up. Your surgeon may have been wise to stop the procedure if she recognized the situation was beyond her confidence level, but a specialized surgeon may have more experience with obliterated footplates and they may be able to do something. It never hurts to get a second opinion.

    In any case, good luck to you. I know and understand what you are going through and I sincerely wish you the best.

     
    Old 09-11-2013, 04:00 PM   #8
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    Re: Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

    mspgh,
    I haven't posted here in awhile, but I couldn't agree with you more about finding a surgeon who has done MANY stapedectomies. Thankfully, most general ENTs will now refer you to a specialist (usually, a neurotologist), but in smaller towns, it might be hard to find somebody close by. While we're on this matter, how do you suggest going about finding the "right" doctor for your stapdectomy?

     
    Old 09-11-2013, 05:45 PM   #9
    mspgh
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    Re: Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

    I did some searching on the internet mainly, I even asked for recommendations on this board. Dr Lippy's name came up repeatedly and he was nearby, so I went and had a consultation at his office. He also accepted my insurance, so everything fell in place.

    Many people will travel a long way to see a surgeon for a stapedectomy. Dr Lippy sees patients from all over the country. There was a gentleman, from Texas I believe, who posted on the board around the time I had my first ear done. He had both ears done at the Lippy Clinic shortly before I had mine done.

    Any news or changes with your ears?

     
    Old 09-12-2013, 06:41 AM   #10
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    Re: Upcoming Ear Surgery. Feeling nervous.

    My hearing is pretty much stable these last three years. The left ear, which has the stapes prosthetic, has normal/borderline hearing, while the right ear, which has not been operated on, has a mild/moderate conductive loss in the lower frequencies and a mild sensorineural loss in the higher frequencies. I wear a hearing in the right ear, which helps balance out my hearing, but I have the "roaring" tinnitus in my right ear that lots of otosclerosis patients have.

     
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