I had my stapedectomy operation done in December 2006 and thought I'd share my experience with anyone who might be considering this operation and sprawling patient forums as I did.
I was 60% deaf in my right ear and had early signs of otosclerosis in my left ear. I decided to go ahead with the opeartion largely because insurance doesn't cover hearing aids. My specialist was Mr. J A Lavy who I can't recommend enough. He explained that there was a 1% chance of total hearing loss and 10% chance that my hearing wouldn't improve and as others have mentioned they may not be able to do the operation should my facial nerve be in the way.
I had the operation done under local anaesthetic and was also given a sedative. I have to say the most painful part of the whole experience was the injections in my ear but they are over in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately my ear canal was too narrow so they had to make an incision in the top of my ear but that really wasn't a big deal and has left the tiniest of scares. I watched the operation as it was being done through their camera which was quite reassuring as there were a lot of loud noises as they chipped away at bone etc. I fell asleep as they were doing the laser bit and came round after they had sewn up my ear drum. The advantage of them doing it under local was that they could do a mini test on my hearing there and then.
I felt extremely dizzy after the op - don't underestimate how dizzy u'll feel. I think that it is a little under played on a lot of these sites about how rotten you'll feel for the next day or so. I ended up staying in the hospital overnight.
My recovery took a week and it was a week of very squelchy noises, having to have someone wash my hair (you musn't get it wet) and restless nights as obviously it's too painful to lye on the operated ear.
Once the padding came out (2 weeks) everything was defeaningly loud and had a tinny quality about it but that settled down over the following two weeks. But I would be prepared to negotiate your social life for this period as I found that going out a bit of an overwhelming experience as I found my sense of sound direction was completely off.
Yesterday I had my hearing tested, you have to wait 6 weeks in total before it's testable, the results were fantastic I now have a normal right ear and can use the phone on that ear and hear what people are actually saying rather than just pretending to understand.
There is a small chance that I may have to have the piston replaced years from now as I am only 25 and so it may wear out also I may need to have the left ear operated on in time but I don't see this as a major issue considering how well my first op went.
The things that I have been told I wont be able to do post op is scuba diving and sky diving (shucks!)
Well that's it - hope that's helpful!
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