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  • Confirmed fractured stapes (with footplate) and PLF with repair

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    Old 10-23-2013, 07:14 PM   #1
    Join Date: Oct 2013
    Location: Australa
    Posts: 1
    postPLF HB User
    Confirmed fractured stapes (with footplate) and PLF with repair

    Caused by flying with a cold. I experienced extreme pain on takeoff.

    Progressively worsening systems
    Started with;
    • Lightheadness/mild dizziness
    • Fullness in ears
    • Generally felt unwell (fatigue);
    • Wet;

    Quickly progressed
    •Pain – seem to flare up for at least a week, and was not easy to control with medication;
    •Disequilibrium (felt like a wonky shopping trolley) – used to come and go, but it was really bad after flights or exercise (particularly yoga). Often I had to concentrate to walk straight;
    •Nausea – used to last about 3 days. No nausea medication seemed to really help. Only thing that helped was to stop eating;
    •Memory and concentration impaired - very frustrating symptom, simple tasks seem complicated and it is very hard to concentrate;
    •Tremors – one of the last symptoms;
    •Vertigo (nystagmus) – only once prior to surgery;

    Initially diagnosed incorrectly as Eustachian tube dysfunction and a grommet was put in the effected ear.

    They also queried Meniere's disease and I was given serc which made symptoms worse by causing nystagmus;

    During the year, any activity that created pressure caused a real exacerbation of symptoms and including spending days in bed. My work required regular flying, flights caused weeks of symptoms. Certain planes were worse and a few times I felt a running water sensation in my ear and tasted a very strong salt taste during flying. Very early I associated exercise with a direct increase in symptoms. Over the year I gave up flying and exercise. Initially it helped, but over time it seemed to take less to trigger it.
    Test – MRI; CT; Audio testing (Otoneurological testing) (PLF test failed due to grommet but is unreliable anyway) – all clear;

    On my third ENT I found a good one who took a comprehensive history. PLF was suspected and surgery booked. Post surgery it was confirmed that I had a fractured stapes with PLF. The first two days I felt fantastic but felt flat after that. I was on sick leave for 1 and ½ weeks. I also experienced pain in week 3 and feared that something had gone wrong. By week 4 I felt better but was having an issue with fluid due the grommet having closed over. The Dr managed this by putting me on antibiotics drops for a week and it was drained out. By week 6 I was on a plane overseas on multiple flights, snorkelling and hiking. I used the flight ear plugs and swim plugs to minimise any risks but had no issues.

    To those in a similar situation, I really do sympathise. I wrote this to both assist people trying to get a diagnosis and to offer a positive outlook. Though it can be a frustrating journey, my experience was that within 6 weeks, you can start adding back all the things you have lost eg. flying, exercise, and general health.

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    Old 10-24-2013, 05:48 PM   #2
    Marie 67
    Senior Member
    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Ohio
    Posts: 195
    Marie 67 HB User
    Re: Confirmed fractured stapes (with footplate) and PLF with repair

    Could you please tell me how something like this can happen? What are the causes of this? Did you have fluid in the ear when you were flying and that put pressure on the bones? Would they ever have healed on their own like other bones in the body or does it require an operation? Do you have to have a prothesis? Was this a stapedectomy? Can having fluid in the ear without flying cause this to happen? I would really like to hear some more details if you would. Thank you.

    Old 10-25-2013, 01:54 PM   #3
    Marie 67
    Senior Member
    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Ohio
    Posts: 195
    Marie 67 HB User
    Re: Confirmed fractured stapes (with footplate) and PLF with repair

    I forgot to ask how this one ent diagnosed you by doing a comprehensive history. What was your first symptom when you started having the illness with your ear. Had you had an ear infection anytime before this? Did you have the fluid issue before the flight? Is plf a fistula? What is that and what causes it? Do they ever show on ct scans? My ct scan showed nothing. I'm concerned that I might have something like this as my symptoms are similar except for the flying. How is your hearing now? What was the operation like?

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    perilymph fistula, post -op, stapedectomy, symptoms

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