Otosclerosis is an abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear leading to hearing loss, which affects less than 1% of the US population. This abnormal growth impinges on the motion of the ossicles (ear bones) and prevents sound from traveling through the middle ear.
Stapedectomy is a surgical procedure which frees up the osscles and restores hearing in patients with otosclerosis. It is typically performed under local anesthesia with IV sedation. Your surgeon will make an incision either behind the ear, or in the ear canal itself and raise the eardrum off of the ossicles. In the next step, one of the ossicles, the stapes, is removed, and a prosthesis is placed to conduct sound directly to the inner ear. The surgeon will then whisper into your ear, to see if your hearing is improved. The incisions are then closed, and the ear is packed to allow for healing.
Stapedectomy is typically performed on an outpatient basis. Patients often complain of mild dizziness immediately following the procedure which usually resolves in 1 to 2 days. You surgeon will provide you with prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medicine and an anti-nausea medication. Because of packing, swelling, and healing tissues, you may not notice an immediate improvement is your hearing. Following stapedectomy it is very important to protect the delicate prosthesis by avoiding extreme pressure changes such as flying in an airplane for 6 weeks, and avoiding scuba diving long term.
Following the procedure, a repeat hearing test will be performed to evaluate the improvement. Near full return of hearing is expected in 90% of cases.