What is a Stapedectomy?

A common cause of hearing loss, otosclerosis is a disease that affects the middle ear bones and the inner ear. This condition causes progressive conductive hearing loss due to the immobilization of the stapes bone, but luckily treating this condition has various options, depending on the degree of hearing loss. If hearing loss is minimal, no intervention may be considered, or the patient may be fitted for hearing aids. However, for patients with a severe case of otosclerosis, surgery may be an option.

When a person has otosclerosis and is a candidate for surgery, a stapedectomy is done to treat a patient’s hearing loss. Also known as a stapes operation, a stapedectomy replaces the stapes, which is located in the middle ear, with a prosthesis “man-made” stapes. A microsurgical procedure, this operation can be done through the ear canal and is usually performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. While the most common reason for a stapedectomy is otosclerosis, sometimes a stapedectomy is also performed on patients who have a fractured stapes or suffer from a congenital abnormality of the stapes. But nonetheless, a patient usually receives an ear examination, a hearing test, and a consultation with the ear surgeon beforehand to determine the appropriateness of this procedure. Luckily, for those who opt for surgery, a stapedectomy is successful in over 90 percent of cases.

If you recently learned you are a candidate or are interested in learning more, check out these helpful tips to help you prepare for a stapedectomy.

  • A stapedectomy can be safely performed on both adults and children.
  • If you smoke, you should quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery, and refrain from smoking after the procedure. Smoking can slow down the healing process and can cause complications during the operation.
  • If you suffer from hearing loss in both ears, know that the ear with poorer hearing will be operated on first. Six months later, the second ear can be operated on.
  • If you develop a sore throat or a cold within a week of your scheduled surgery, notify your surgeon immediately. If this is the case, the procedure should be postponed to help minimize the risk of infection.
  • This procedure takes about an hour to perform, and many patients can go home the same day or the following morning. Most are able to return to work in seven days (depending on your occupation).
  • On the day of the surgery, bring a friend or a family member with you. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home, so make sure you have a designated driver with you.
  • During the recovery period, it is imperative that you rest. If you can, try to find someone to help you with your day-to-day tasks while you recover.
  • Dizziness and nausea are common and is expected after surgery, but it is usually a temporary, mild case.
  • After surgery, improvement in your hearing may not be noticeable at first. Within three weeks of surgery, improvement in hearing may become apparent, but maximum hearing is usually obtained within six months.
  • In the weeks following the operation, it is not uncommon to experience temporary mouth dryness and disturbances in taste.
  • If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to direct them to your doctor. Also, make sure you follow the doctor’s orders and listen to the instructions they give you for pre and post-surgery care.

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