My experience of laser surgery for Cholesteatoma removal

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I am at week 7 after having my cholesteatoma removed by laser in mid March this year.  To be totally honest it was quite a shock back in February to be told that I had something called a cholesteatoma and that it would need to be removed ASAP. I then made the fatal mistake of coming home and reading up all the information (and horror stories) on the internet. 

So I thought I would like to give a first hand account of my own experience for anyone that is about to have this op. 

My actual experience was a lot better than I was anticipating (and what I had read about!!!!!). The operation lasted between 3 -4 hours and I had an overnight stay in the hospital. During the operation my cholesteatoma was removed using miniature laser precision instruments, a titanium strip was used to repair the damaged hearing bone and my eardrum was repaired.

 The operation was performed by Mr Hamilton who specialises in this technique. I feel as though he did a very good job. I had no pain, dizziness or balance problems immediately afterwards or in fact in the last 7 weeks.

When I came round from the op I had packing in my ear and a turban type bandage holding the dressing in place. The turban was removed the following morning before I left the hospital but the next 3 weeks my hearing was very limited with the packing. 


The internal packing was removed three weeks after the op and I had to have some small dressings inserted as there was still some seepage happening. Apparently in children the ear will repair itself much quicker....but I am on the wrong side of its taking longer!! 

After a further 3 weeks wait I returned to have the dressings removed.

In another 6 weeks time I will undertake a hearing test to see what sort of hearing I have recovered. I am feeling optimistic that I will have some decent hearing levels as I can already notice that my hearing is getting better in that ear. It has good days and bad days.

At the moment I seem to have the pulsatile tinnitus returned again but I am happy to say that its not anywhere near as severe as it was prior to having the op.

Some days my ear feels quite full and I don't hear so well from that side....then a few days later it makes a few strange noises and popping sounds and my hearing seems better. But its only week 7 and I understand that its a long process of getting the ear canal settled back down to a dry ear and normality.

I am happy that I've had the op as its got rid of a pretty miserable time when I had 24 hour round the clock severe pulsatile tinnitus.  

I am glad that I chose to have it done by laser surgery as the recovery time is better apparently (there is less bleeding with laser so less blood and debris for the ear to try and absorb and get rid of during the recovery period)  

I just wish I hadn't read so many horror stories on the internet I had got myself worked up into quite a state before the op!!!!!  

?I hope this has been helpful to anyone about to have surgery.

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  • Posted

    Hi Amber,

    that's quite informative.

    How's your ear canal after the operation, is it of the same size as before?

    Have you done your audiometry? Did the doc suggest you second operation an year after the surgery?

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    • Posted

      Hi Gladray

      I am not sure whether my ear canal has changed in size since the removal of the cholesteatoma, although the surgeon did make mention that I have a long ear canal which may take longer for the ear to be completely cleared of all debris and become a 'dry ear' (which is what they aim for). He said this may take as long as a year to achieve, in my case.

      I have a date for my audio test which is June 20th but I am happy to say that I've noticed an improvement in what I can hear out of that ear. On the same day as the audio test, the Specialist will also examine my ear canal to see how things are coming along.

      He hasn't suggested a second operation as he repaired the hearing bone with titanium and also created a new ear drum in the same op as he removed the cholesteatoma and if that has all settles down well, he will not need to operate in a years time. 

      Hope this has been helpful to you.

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