Stapes Procedure Post-Op Instructions


This procedure is performed through the ear canal. You will have a small incision in your ear lobe with sutures, packing in the ear to support the ear drum as it heals, and a cotton ball to catch any drainage. This cotton ball may become saturated with blood. This is normal and may continue for several days. You will change this outside cotton ball as often as needed. The drainage will gradually decrease. Keep the ear dry. When showering, coat a sterile cotton ball with Vaseline and place in the ear to keep water out. The packing in the ear and the sutures in the ear lobe will be removed in our office at your one week appointment.

Do not be concerned if your hearing is not dramatically improved immediately after surgery. Often the hearing is muffled because of blood clots in the ear and the packing in the ear canal. You may notice that things sound louder after the packing is removed, but the hearing usually continues to improve for several weeks after surgery. The quality of the sound is frequently different, and you may be sensitive to loud noise until you adjust to the new level of hearing. We will perform a new hearing test several weeks after surgery to assess the results of your operation.

Your sense of balance may be off after surgery. In particular, you may be sensitive to quick turns or sudden position changes. This should improve within several days. There should be little pain following the surgery. We have given you a prescription for a pain medication in the event that Tylenol is not adequate. Do not take aspirin, Advil, Nuprin or similar compounds, as these increase the risk of bleeding. You should not drive if you are taking pain medicine other than Tylenol, or if you have any dizziness. You may notice a slight taste disturbance or metallic taste post-operatively. This is common, and usually disappears in 3-4 months.

Avoid any straining, heavy lifting or vigorous nose blowing. Such activities could rupture the seal around the prosthesis before it is fully healed.

If there is deterioration in hearing, dizziness, swelling behind the ear, fever or pain, you should call our office immediately.

You will be followed in the office until your ear is healed. Thereafter, we recommend yearly checkups with hearing tests.

If you have any questions or problems, please don’t hesitate to ask. Our nurse or medical assistant will answer your questions and communicate any problems to me.

We hope this will help you make a smooth recovery from your surgery.



Stapes surgery is done to restore hearing in patients who have otosclerosis, a condition in which there is fixation of the stapes or stirrup, one of the bones that transmit sound to the inner ear. The middle ear is approached through the ear canal. An opening is made in the footplate of the stapes and a prosthesis is inserted. Alternatives to surgery include living with the hearing loss, or wearing a hearing aid.

Problems such as yours are usually helped by a stapedotomy, or stapes exploratory type surgery. As with any surgery, there are not only potential benefits but also risks. You must keep in mind that you may not benefit from the surgery and your hearing may be worse after surgery. The following information will help you understand the results and risks of these procedures.

LOSS OF HEARING: More than 90% of patients have noticeable improvement in hearing. Further hearing loss develops in a few patients due to complications in the healing process. In very rare patients, hearing loss is very severe and may prevent the use of an aid in the operated ear.

DIZZINESS: Some mild unsteadiness is occasionally seen in the first few post-operative days. On rare occasions, dizziness is prolonged.

TASTE DISTURBANCE: Taste disturbance and mouth dryness occasionally occurs following surgery. In rare patients, this disturbance is prolonged for months.

TINNITUS OR RINGING: Should the hearing be worse following stapedectomy, tinnitus (head noise) likewise may be more pronounced.

FACIAL WEAKNESS: A very rare complication of stapedectomy is temporary weakness of the face. This may occur as the result of an abnormality or swelling of the facial nerve.

EARDRUM PERFORATION: A perforation (hole) in the eardrum membrance develops very rarely and is usually due to an infection. Often the membrane may heal spontaneously. If healing does not occur, surgical repair (myringoplasty) may be required.

INFECTION: Though infection is not common, it is a risk with any surgical procedure. Should infection occur, it is usually easily controlled with antibiotics. If the infection goes into the inner ear, permanent hearing loss can occur.

ANESTHESIA: Any questions you may have regarding the risks and complications involved with anesthesia should be discussed with the anesthesia personnel at the hospital where surgery is scheduled.

Disclaimer: These Post-Operative Instructions are for patients of record at our practice only. If you are not a patient of Ear Consultants of CNY, please contact your own surgeon for specific instructions.