WHY SHOULD I SEE THE EXPERTS AT THE CENTER FOR OTOSCLEROSIS?
The surgeons at the Center for Otosclerosis provide state of the art diagnosis and treatment options to ensure patients get the best result. Each of our surgeons completed advanced fellowship training in Otology and Neurotology specifically training to perform this procedure. Ear surgery is all that we do.
WHAT CAUSES OTOSCLEROSIS?
Otosclerosis is caused by the accumulation of abnormal bone growth onto the smallest of the three hearing bones-the tiny stirrup-shaped bone called the stapes. The stapes is the third hearing bone, and its motion on the footplate of the inner ear (located behind the ear drum) moves the fluid within the inner ear and allows us to hear. The over-growth of bone associated with otosclerosis may cause the stapes bone to become fixed, thus restricting its motion and resulting in hearing loss.
HOW DO YOU FIX MY HEARING IF I HAVE OTOSCLEROSIS?
To fix hearing loss caused by otosclerosis, our surgeons operate with microscopes and endoscopes through the ear canal. They lift the ear drum and then use lasers and micro-instruments to free up the stapes bone. Then they place a tiny (less than a millimeter thick!) prosthesis into the ear and attach it to the second hearing bone-the incus- which allows you to hear again.
In some cases, otosclerosis affects the dense bone surrounding the inner ear and can lead to a different type of hearing loss which may not benefit from this type of surgery. Some patients with this type of hearing loss may need a cochlear implant, which is a surgery that our surgeons perform as well. Our surgeons will review your specific case and make the best recommendation for your hearing.
DOES EVERYONE WITH OTOSCLEROSIS NEED SURGERY?
No, but stapes surgery has a high success rate (>95%). Therefore, many patients select this option to address their hearing loss. Patients with mild hearing loss may not need surgery because their hearing is still quite good. Some patients with hearing loss related to otosclerosis may opt for hearing aids. And in some cases, otosclerosis causes a different type of hearing loss which can only be improved with a cochlear implant. The Center for Otosclerosis provides every type of treatment. Regardless of which type of treatment you choose, we can help.
WHAT IS THE SUCCESS RATE OF SURGERY?
Success rate for stapes surgery is defined by an improvement in hearing following surgery. Surgery is successful in >95% of cases.
WHO WILL ACTUALLY PERFORM MY SURGERY?
The surgeon you consult with in the clinic is the one who will perform your surgery. We will occasionally have medical students in the operating room to watch our surgeons operate but no one except the surgeon will perform your surgery. We do not have any resident or fellow trainees. So the surgeon you consult with will be the only one working on your ear.
WHAT IF I DON’T CORRECT OTOSCLEROSIS WITH SURGERY?
Otosclerosis is typically a slowly progressive process. This means that over time, your hearing will likely worsen, though in some people it may not. The option of correcting your hearing loss from otosclerosis with surgery is purely elective. This means that there is no harm in waiting, or using a hearing aid, rather than doing surgery for your hearing loss. However, many people opt to have surgery earlier rather than waiting so that they may enjoy improved hearing for more years.
WILL SURGERY GET RID OF MY TINNITUS?
Tinnitus, or an abnormal sound in your ear, is very common in patients with otosclerosis. In many patients with otosclerosis, laser stapedectomy can improve the tinnitus that you are hearing because once the hearing is improved, it lessens the amount of tinnitus that you may experience. However, there is no guarantee that the tinnitus will be eliminated or even lessened with laser stapedectomy.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS OF SURGERY?
There are always risks with any surgery. Surgery for otosclerosis is very safe when performed by an experienced surgeon with experience in treating this condition. Most surgeries are very routine and it is imperative that the surgeon has performed many of these procedures so that they are comfortable with anything that may come their way. Risks of surgery are detailed on a separate tab.
WHAT IS PAIN LIKE AFTER SURGERY?
Stapedectomy is performed through the ear canal so pain after surgery is minimal. Typically, patients use Tylenol or Ibuprofen for any mild discomfort after surgery. We do not use narcotics after stapedectomy.
WILL I BE DIZZY AFTER LASER STAPEDOTOMY?
While dizziness is possible after stapedectomy, the techniques we utilize at the Center for Otosclerosis minimizes this risk. In fact, it is uncommon for patients to have anything more than some feelings of off balance after surgery, though vertigo is always a potential feeling if the inner ear experiences inflammation after surgery. If this occurs, we often will prescribe oral steroids to help resolve the inflammation and vertigo.
WHAT RESTRICTIONS DO I HAVE AFTER SURGERY FOR OTOSCLEROSIS?
Restrictions after stapes surgery includes no heavy lifting for 3 weeks. In addition, we ask that you try not to blow your nose hard for the first 1-2 weeks after surgery. When showering, a cotton ball with Vaseline should be placed in the ear opening to prevent water from entering the ear.
HOW CAN YOU SEE THE TINIEST BONE IN OUR BODY DURING SURGERY?
We use very high powered microscopes and endoscopes to see the tiny bones of your inner ear and replace the stapes bone. This state of the art technology allows us to work inside of your middle ear with ease.
DO YOU HAVE TO CUT THE EARDRUM TO GET INTO THE MIDDLE EAR?
We approach the surgery through your ear canal, making an incision inside of the ear canal and then lifting your ear drum, much like lifting the hood of a car. Once the ear drum is lifted, we are able to access the middle ear and the hearing bones. At this point, we laser away the stapes bone and replace the bone with a prosthesis. Once completed, we replace the eardrum in its native location. There are no holes or defects in the eardrum.
HOW DO YOU KNOW OTOSCLEROSIS IS CAUSING MY HEARING LOSS?
There are various audiologic tests that we can do to confirm that otosclerosis is the cause of your hearing loss. The configuration of the hearing loss along with other audiology tests that we perform in the office are usually enough to confirm the cause of the hearing loss. At times, we may obtain a CT scan to image the middle and inner ear. This scan may show the otosclerosis hardening of the stapes bone, but also rules out other potential causes of hearing loss in some patients.
WHAT KIND OF COMPLICATIONS CAN OCCUR AS A RESULT OF STAPES SURGERY?
Complications include ear drum perforation, changes in taste, worsening of the hearing loss, dizziness and facial weakness. Stapes surgery is a very safe procedure overall.
Some patients actually complain after surgery that their hearing is too loud! Fortunately, this usually resolves pretty quickly.
WHERE WILL I HAVE MY SURGERY?
The location of your surgery will depend on which surgeon you consult with. Our surgeons operate at several facilities in Dallas, Plano, Frisco, or Fort Worth.
HOW LONG DOES THE SURGERY TAKE?
Surgery time can vary but generally stapes surgery takes about one hour.
WILL I GO HOME THE SAME DAY OF SURGERY?
Yes, stapes surgery is an outpatient procedure. Once you recover from anesthesia, you will be able to go home the same day.
HOW LONG SHOULD I PLAN ON BEING OFF WORK AFTER STAPES SURGERY?
Typically, we recommend up to 1 week off of work or school after stapes surgery.
IF I HAVE A COMPLICATION AFTER SURGERY, WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF ME?
Complications are rare but they can occur. Drs. Hahn, Page, Peters and Rodgers take pride in taking care of their patients. If you have any issues after surgery and call our office, the staff will inform your surgeon of the call and your concern will be addressed by the surgeon.