Ossiculoplasty

Procedures & Operations

What is Ossiculoplasty and Why Might You Need It

An ossiculoplasty is an operation to repair, reconstruct and improve the movement of the tiny bones of hearing in the middle ear. These bones may have become damaged or less mobile due to infection or disease such as long-standing middle ear infection (otitis media), or trauma such as a head injury.

The main benefit of having an ossiculoplasty is that it will hopefully improve your hearing.

The Surgery Explained

The operation involves either reshaping the bones already there so that they work better or using tiny false replacements (prostheses). After applying anaesthesia to the patient undergoing Ossiculoplasty, there is a surgical cut made behind the ear, or in the ear canal. The ossicles or ear bones that are damaged are then carefully removed and cleaned and replaced with the artificially made bones. Often it is possible to effectively repair the conduction method by using the damaged bones and avoiding the use of artificial bone.

What to Expect Following Your Surgery

It normally takes a day to fully discharge the patient undergoing Ossiculoplasty.

A successful Ossiculoplasty always repairs hearing, though the extent of it depends on the extent of damage and the type of artificial bones used. When the operation is over, you will have your pulse, blood pressure, breathing and wounds checked regularly by a nurse. It is usual to feel drowsy for several hours. You will be given oxygen through a facemask until you are more awake.

Anaesthetics can sometimes make people feel sick. The nurse may offer you an injection if the sick feeling does not go away. This should help to settle it. If you are particularly worried about this or have experienced problems with previous anaesthetics you can discuss this with the anaesthetist before your operation. You will usually have a drip running into a vein in your arm or hand until you are eating and drinking again.

Your wound will have stitches to keep it together while it heals. These are usually dissolvable and will not normally need removing. However, this will be confirmed before you leave hospital. You will have a yellow iodine pack down your ear which may make your hearing muffled. This will stay in for approximately 3 weeks. Your surgeon will remove it under the microscope during a clinic appointment.
You may also have a bandage around your head. This is usually removed the morning after your operation, before you go home.

If you experience pain it is important to tell the nurses who can give you painkillers to help. You will also be provided with some to take home with you.

You will be encouraged to get up as soon as you feel able to although this must be done carefully at first as you may feel a little dizzy. It is important to mobilise as soon as possible after any operation as this reduces the risk of developing blood clots. You will usually be in hospital for 1 night and will be able to go home the following day.

Following your operation, you may suffer from:

No change/worsening hearing:  There could be no change or a worsening of the hearing in the ear which has been operated on.

Facial weakness:  This is rare. It may be temporary or, in rare cases, permanent, caused by damage to the nerve which makes the muscles of the face move the facial nerve.

Dizziness:  This can occur occasionally, but usually resolves after a short period of time.

Infection:  Infection of the wound site (where the stitches are) may occur. This may cause pain, inflammation and tightness of the area. Occasionally, a discharge or bleeding may occur from the stitch line. Infection or bleeding may also occur from within the ear and this may cause pain and/or a bloody odorous discharge from the ear pack within your ear. However, a small amount of bleeding or discharge is to be expected after this surgery. If you are at all concerned, please contact the hospital.

Disturbances to your sense of taste: This occasionally happens and is caused by damage to a particular nerve, which runs through the ear space.