Otosclerosis and Stapedectomy

Otosclerosis is a condition where some abnormal bone forms around the stapes bone causing it to become fixed so it no longer vibrates properly with sound waves, causing a hearing loss. Stapedectomy is an ear operation which removes part of the fixed stapes bone and then a prosthesis is placed on the long process of incus to carry the sound vibration into the inner ear to improve the hearing.

This can be done via the ear canal (transcanal) or with a small skin incision at the top of the entrance to the ear canal (endaural). It is usually done under a general anaesthetic but can be done under a local anaesthetic with the patient awake. Packing will be placed in the ear canal and a head bandage applied.

After the operation

 The head bandage will be removed the next day, and the ear canal packing and stitches removed in clinic in 1 to 2 weeks.  Most patients will require at least 1-2 weeks off work.  However, there should be no straining, heavy lifting, physical exercise, nose blowing, popping the ears, or lying on the side of the operated ear for at least 2 weeks afterwards. Do not drive or operate machinery within 24 hours of an anaesthetic.

You will be given a prescription for pain relief before you leave the hospital. It will be uncomfortable for the first 1 to 2 weeks then usually subsides.

You may feel slightly unsteady for several days after the operation but more than this let the surgeon know. Often there will be an altered taste sensation which usually improves over weeks or months.

Your ear will feel blocked and the hearing will be down and this will improve when the ear canal packing is removed. You may hear or feel some popping and crackling in the ear, as well as tinnitus.

Your ear canal will discharge blood stained fluid and some of the pieces of ear canal packing may fall out. Place a small rolled ball of cotton wool at the entrance to the canal to collect this and change as required. Do not put anything into the ear canal.

Do not get water down the ear canal. You can wash your hair after 2 days. To prevent water entering the ear canal, roll a small ball of cotton wool in Vaseline and place at the entrance to the ear canal with a cup over your ear.

If you have any concerns after your procedure, please contact the following:

  • Your Surgeon
  • Auckland ENT Group on 09 522 2226
  • Your Family Doctor / GP
  • After hours – 24 Hour Medical Centre or Emergency Department
  • In case of an emergency – dial 111 for an ambulance.

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For more information on any of our procedures.