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Hearing Disorders Message Board

Hearing Disorders Board Index

Failed Stapedectomy
Jan 18, 2012
I'm new here. I'm 32 yrs old and I've had noticable hearing loss R>L for 5 years or so. My mother had otosclerosis and had bilateral stapedectomies by the time she was my current age.

I was diagnosed with otosclerosis in 2009 but chose not to get the surgery done then because I was in school at the time. I finally got it done in Oct. '11. Intraoperatively it seemed like a success. The morning after, I threw up from the vicodin. The doc said not to blow my nose for a week afterward. My vomiting is significantly more forceful than any nose blowing I could hope to do. I am pretty sure I destroyed the surgical outcome by my violent vomiting. I am a world class vomiter. I could throw up a grand piano if I had to. After throwing up, I had intense ringing in the ear like that felt like a piccolo for 5 straight hours. It also started bleeding pretty good. The doc gave me his cell number in case there were any concerns. I threw up just before 5am and I opted to not call him right away because of the time and I know that it takes a lot to worrry a doc. He said that he wasn't concerned. That darn gelfoam soaked up a lot of blood, and it put a ton of pressure in my ear canal. What a painful week. And going back to work within 3 days was a challenge.

10 days post op, the gelfoam was taken out and I couldn't hear anything. After a few weeks I felt like the hearing had improved based on the balance of my headphones. I stayed away from working out and lifting weights more or less according to his recommendations. But I wasn't the most compliant patient...I went and played baseball a week or two later. I felt like the hearing decreased for a few days after playing ball.

As my two month follow up approached, I noticed that I couldn't hear much when I layed down with my left ear on the pillow. So I thought my hearing had decreased from before the surgery. I got my audiogram and there was no improvement from the pre op value. The ENT and the audiologist were disappointed in the results, and I'm scheduled to have a revision on January 30th. He said he thought there was a "significant chance" that the prosthesis had slipped out of place.

We'll see how it goes. If the problem is not apparent, then he said it's likely that the otosclerosis had spread into the cochlea.
I had the revision done this morning. I was worried about throwing up again and ruining it. So I asked the doc for percocet a week or two ago so I could try it out and see if I could tolerate it. I tried it 3 times without any trouble. I tried it two nights in a row, then I got gutsy and took it before going to work in the morning. I admit, it wasn't the best choice, but the previous two times I had taken it I fell asleep after an hour or two. So I wanted to get a good feel for how it affected me. I regretted it because I felt pretty tipsy, but I was glad I did it because I knew I could handle the stuff.

So I had the revision today. The doc said it shouldn't be too painful, since there was no bone work to do this time. He also said that I shouldn't have problems with nausea since the nerves were probably not fully regenerated from before.

They did local anesthesia again. They gave me the same dosage as before. I was a little alarmed because I didn't feel the effects like a ton of bricks like I had before. All I remembered from before was they injected the first part, and within 10 seconds I felt like someone was laying on top of me. Then I remembered being wheeled to the OR and it was completely hazy after that. This time I didn't feel anything when they injected it. I was a little worried, and I was fully aware of everything going on. They had me scoot onto the OR table (something I don't remember donig last time) and I still remember most of everything in the entire procedure. Their goal was to keep me groggy enough to where I wouldn't remember anything. Well, I kept my eyes closed and I remember hearing the doc asking for the laser several times and telling them to leave it on standby. I could hear and feel the zaps. I also heard him ask for a probe and I felt it each time. It was pretty the point where I probably should've asked for more meds, but I didn't want to risk getting sick again. So I just toughed it out. It's kind of disturbing to think that I felt all the poking and zapping. I remember wincing a few times...which is not a good thing since they want you to hold still. I was aware enough afterward that when I was being wheeled out of the OR, I listened to the doc dictating his operative note. Now that the operation is over with, I'm glad I didn't ask for more meds. I feel a lot better than after the first operation. I don't feel dizzy, and the pain is minimal. It just feels like the soreness you get when you cut your finger. I ate and I took two tylenol. Since it was only 2pm, I didn't want to be hopped up on percocet all day. It's amazing how good I feel right now. I hope it's not just anesthesia hangover or something.

So afterward, the doc came to the recovery room and told me that the prosthesis had slipped. He said that it was likely because it was too short. So he put in a longer one. This time around, I'm going to be more cautious. I'm on call for work this next weekend. I work in prosthetics and orthotics. So sometimes I have to log roll a patient in their hospital bed in order to put on a back brace. I can get around strenuous lifting by asking for the nursing staff for help. Also, last time I played baseball on the 3rd week post op and I remembered a decrease in hearing for a couple of days afterward.

I've adjusted the balance on my computer's volume so when I use headphones it sounds equal in each ear. I am looking forward to seeing how it changes as I recover. The best part is I have no taste disturbance!

Anyway, just thought I'd give an update.
Today is 5 days post op. I had the operation on Monday and went back to work on Thursday. I'm on call for the weekend and I had to work Saturday as well. I'm feeling a lot better after the operation than last time. I emailed the doc and he said that the prosthesis was still attached to the incus, but it was detached from the stapedotomy and just dangling down. It's amazing that I could hear anything with it in that state.

I haven't taken any pain meds today, and I've been just fine. I'm sure I'll take something tonight in order to sleep. Sleeping has been a challenge. I didn't fall asleep until 6 am the morning after the day of surgery. And it hasn't gotten much easier. Probably because I just don't burn the kind of energy I do on a daily basis.

I've had almost no bleeding. Each time I change the cotton ball, there's no trace of blood on it. Last time, I took some excedrin and the aspirin in it must have kept my incisions from the gelfoam absorbed loads of blood and hurt like the dickens.

I get the plug pulled out next Thursday. I'm really hoping things worked out this time.
I've had the plug out for 3 days now. When the doc pulled it out and started talking, it felt like he was yelling. It's fun to hear things differently now. When I'm driving on the highway, I can hear the rush of the air through the windows and the sunroof. I noticed I've been asking people to repeat themselves less frequently. I checked the balance on my headphones, and it's amazing to hear how terrible the right ear was after the first surgery. I've adjusted the balance and it's closer to being neutral. I'm eager to see if the hearing improves.

I'm not having the post op issues like before. I have occasional ringing and sometimes I can hear my pulse, but nothing like I had previously. I finally felt up to going to the gym and it felt great to burn some calories. I didn't have any issues with feeling weak or I'm encouraged. I was instructed to stay away from lifting weights for a month post it's cardio until then.
After having the revision done on Jan 30th, my hearing seemed to improve for a few weeks. The first time I slept on my operated side since the surgery was 3 weeks post op. I woke up the next morning with a stuffy feeling in my ear and it seemed like my hearing had decreased. I emailed the doc that morning and he said he wanted to have me back in asap for another audiogram. The hearing had only gotten slightly better than the value before the first surgery. He said that he didn't think that sleeping on my operated side would cause anything to happen, especially 3 weeks post op. So he said to come back in 2 months for another audiogram. This past weekend (7 weeks post op) I noticed a sharp decline in my hearing again. I noticed I could hardly hear anything if I layed on my pillow with my good ear. I also noticed I was constantly asking my wife to repeat herself. Again I emailed the doc and he said he wanted to get me back in. He set an appointment for tomorrow, but I cancelled it. I don't see a point in shelling out a $30 copay for the audiogram to tell me what I already know. He had talked about having a CT scan to see if the prosthesis had slipped again, so I sent him another email asking if we can just go for the CT scan. That's where I stand now.

If it slipped out again, I'm definitely having another surgery. I've burned through 6 vacation days so far to fix this thing. I've had coworkers tell me to stop having the surgeries and just get a hearing aid. People have also told me to get a second opinion or have another surgeon operate on me. I trust he is an expert....but at the same time I'm sick of the failures. I am a healthcare worker, and I don't like it when people ask to not be seen by me again (except if I'm not a huge fan of them) so I don't want to upset him by asking for another surgeon.

I'm sick of having this done, but it's frustrating to not be able to hear. And I've been through too much to just give up at this point and go for hearing aids.

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