Stapedectomy: Before Your Surgery

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What is a stapedectomy?

Anatomy of the ear, with a detailed view of the middle ear

A stapedectomy (say "stay-puh-DEK-tuh-mee") is surgery in your ear. It removes a small bone, called the stapes, from the middle ear. The middle ear contains three bones: the stapes, the incus, and the malleus. These bones help with hearing. This surgery is done when the tissue around the stapes (say "STAY-peez") hardens and prevents the stapes from working as it should. The doctor will replace the stapes with a man-made stapes. This is called a prosthesis.

You will get medicine to make you sleep or feel relaxed during the surgery. You will not feel pain. The doctor will use a microscope and place small surgical tools through the opening in your ear canal to do the surgery. The doctor may use a small piece of tissue from your ear to help attach the prosthesis and repair the middle ear.

The surgery usually takes 1 to 2 hours. When it is done, the doctor will put foam packing or ointment in the outer ear canal. The doctor will take this out 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.

You will probably go home from the hospital the same day. Most people are able to go back to work or their normal routine in about 1 week. But if your job requires strenuous activity or heavy lifting, you may need to take up to 4 weeks off.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The surgery will take about 1 to 2 hours.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: July 29, 2016