Monday, October 4, 2010


On Tuesday, Sept. 28th, I had surgery on my ear. This is what my head looked like after the surgery. Fortunately, they took the bandages off the day after. It was a rough night.

The technical term for the procedure is Tympanoplasty with Mastoidectomy. What does that mean, you ask? They replaced my eardrum (tympanoplasty) and removed a small cyst from my ear canal (mastoidectomy). The end result is supposed to be amazing. I say 'supposed to be' because we are still a while away from the actual result. It's going to take a few weeks for everything to completely heal up. And at least 2 months before I regain all the feeling in my ear.

The surgeon, according to my husband, seemed a bit surprised when he actually got into my ear. He had noticed the scar tissue from the previous surgery (did I tell you that I've had this done before? I have. It didn't work.) on prior visits to his office, but did not realize there was so much of it. Because of this, he had to remove a lot more tissue than planned, but it was all taken care of.

The doctor is an expert at what he does. He's won awards and patients fly in from all over the country to see him. He's good. He's so good, that they invite him to speak and teach at conferences all over the country as well. Because of this, every patient ends up being "research". He takes pictures of the entire procedure, and makes sure you have copies when everything is said and done. Yep, I have copies of the bloody mess inside of my ear. Yuck. Before you decide not to finish reading, I won't be posting them. They're yucky.

So far, the week after the surgery has been a painful one. I expected as much. What I didn't expect, though, was for the antibiotics to make me so dizzy and sick. After calling the doc, I was assured that it was normal, he prescribed some pretty heavy medicines to make sure we don't run into any infections. At least I have some pretty strong painkillers to help me deal with the pain, I would be a complete mess without them.

I have already noticed an increase in my hearing on that side. It's amazing. Annoying too. I'm not used to everything being so loud. I hope that changes soon. By the end of the night, I'm going on noise overload and want to cry.

Also, I start school tonight. I really want to wear my hair down to cover my freaky looking ear, but I hate when it hangs down in my face. So I suppose I'll just point it out and explain the situation real quick so everyone can have their stares and be done with it. It'll make for a less awkward few hours in class.

Wish me luck!


  1. At least it is getting better! That's what mattes! A couple of weeks *probably* won't kill you! :D

  2. Ugh, a couple of weeks is going to go by SO

    Also, I can't believe I posted such an awful pic of myself. There's just no way at all to take a flattering pic when you're doped up and look like a you've been in a car wreck :-P

  3. LOL... you look great! Just enjoy those pain meds. :)

  4. Hey you! No blog post?? :) I'll forgive you because I know you're in school!! Yay! I gave you a bloggie award! Check it out here.

  5. :-) It's been a busy'll get one up sometime today. I'll go check it out, I like awards :-)

  6. hi
    i have just found out i need to have this surgery and then a hearing aid fitted i am sorry to ask this and i hope you do not find it intrusive but where did they cut you and do you have a scar now? also on a scale of 1-10 just how much pain can i expect?
    i hope you have recoverd well and that this surgery worked for you this time
    michelle x

  7. Hey Michelle! Your questions are not intrusive at all. They cut just behind my ear, from top to bottom. That gives them the ability to lay the ear over onto your cheek so they can get inside and do things. I had a scar leftover from the first surgery, so the doc had to cut through that one. If this had been my first experience, my doc's amazing technique would not have left a scar, but he was closing the site over scar tissue, so there's a bit of a scar left. Most of the time you'll have a scar.

    As far as pain, I don't want to scare you, but I don't want to sugarcoat it hurts. A lot. If you are given good painkillers, it's easier to deal with. But mostly, it's a lot of pressure and tenderness. I had to sleep with my head elevated for the first week to make sure to keep pressure off of the eardrum. What a pain.

    As far as how things healed up, I haven't had an ear infection since. My hearing was supposed to improve with the surgery and it kind of did. I have to go back (after I have the baby in Aug.) To have him check out a "loose connection". Basically, my ear will pop sometimes and I can hear great, then it will pop again and the hearing goes away. I hope they can fix it pretty simple without major surgery, but a hearing aid isn't the worst to deal with. I was going to suggest it to him anyway.

    Good luck on your surgery! I hope all goes smoothly and you recover nicely, too! Feel free to let me know how it all goes :-)

  8. I have a hole in my eardrum and due to its location, that paper patch didnt work. I dont really care about pain or a scar, but on another site/picture i saw when looking this up, a girl said that her ear sticks out farther now... is that common?

  9. Hi Sean- from what I was told, the paper patch is just a temporary fix. Mine lasted 3 days. Sometimes, the surgery can change the way your ear looks. I don't know about sticking out, but my ear is slightly lower than it used to be (not noticeable to anyone but me, really). If you talk with a surgeon, they can help you to understand why it's almost impossible to get your ear back in the exact same spot. Good luck with your ear! It's a pain to have to deal with.

  10. Hi
    It a relief to learn about other peoples experiences. I had a canal wall down mastoidectomy 7 years ago...the reconstruction didn't work, so I have no hearing in that ear.I also have a lot of problems with granulation tissue. How are you doing now?

  11. Hi Barbara- Thanks for visiting! I just had a checkup the other day to figure out what went wrong with the surgery. My hearing is almost non existent in my ear now and it constantly feels like I have something stuck in it. It's maddening! Turns out, my eardrum healed wrong. It's a beautiful eardrum, but it somehow stretched and healed away from the bone it's supposed to be touching (which made my hearing worse, because your eardrum NEEDS to touch the bone in order for you to hear).

    The doctor recommended ANOTHER procedure, this time a simple tympanoplasty through the ear canal in which he would place a prosthetic bone, extending from the original bone to the eardrum. It's a simple procedure and only takes about an hour. My husband and I are working on a schedule for it now.

    I'm hoping it will be the final procedure I'll need on my ear. If everything goes well, my hearing should be close to perfect and the feeling of something being in there all the time will go away as well.

    Are you doing anything to try and correct the hearing in your ear? Is there anything to be done for it?

  12. My doctor has wanted to do another surgery to fix the prosthesis all along. He had problems with it during the reconstruction - it never stayed attached because it pressed against the facial nerve. I've worn a hearing aid on and off, but don't really like it. I'm just so frustrated because I'm in his office every 3-6 months to get granulation tissue cauterized. Right now I'm having pain, pressure, and a little drainage - but when I saw him last week he said he couldn't tell where the drainage was coming from (there are multiple bowls that he can't see into from the cwd surgery)- but that if it got worse he would have to look elsewhere. ??? If it gets worse, I'm going to ask for another CT. When I had the surgery 7 years ago I didn't understand that this would go on forever. Do you have any complications? Good luck with the tympanoplasty! Thankfully they can do that without folding back your ear! -recovering from that was awful!

  13. Hey Barbara. I haven't had any major complications. Just the hearing thing. At this point, my hearing would be better if I had another hole in my eardrum. There's a finger tip sized divot in the mastoid bone behind my ear, it's kinda bothersome but it's just the result of two procedures. This will be the first time they'll do the tympanoplasty through the canal. Both precious surgeries have been the kind where they fold my ear back. I know what kind of awful you're talking about! Hope you can get your situation cleared up, too!