A stapedectomy (say "stay-puh-DEK-tuh-mee") is surgery to remove 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 correctly. The doctor replaces the stapes with a man-made stapes, called a prosthesis.
You may have some ear pain or a headache and be slightly dizzy for several days after the surgery.
Your ear will probably feel blocked or stuffy. This usually gets better as the eardrum heals and after the doctor takes the cotton or gauze packing out of the ear canal. The doctor will take out the packing 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Some bloody fluid may drain from your ear for 1 to 3 days after the packing is removed.
Your hearing may improve right away, but often it takes about 2 to 4 weeks to notice a difference. Hearing often continues to improve in the 2 months after surgery.
While you are healing, it is important to avoid getting water in your ear. Your ears may be very sensitive to noise at first. Try to avoid places that are very noisy.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
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 or nurse call line 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.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: July 29, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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