Mastoidectomy experiences?

ismi

New Member
Not sure this is the section for this, but I couldn't find anything better.

After having suppurative otitis media since November, I've finally managed to convince my doctor that antibiotics just aren't doing it. I'm probably going to have a mastoidectomy in May (I go in today for a CAT scan and a consult).

Can anyone who has had this comment? Mastoidectomies are apparently much less common than they used to be, so there's not much information online about how much pain to expect, when the drainage will dry up, when I'll be able to wear my aid in that ear again, and that kind of thing. I've been asking my doc, but the response always seems to be: "that varies".
 

MorriganTait

New Member
I DID FIND THIS - HOPE IT HELPS A LITTLE. HOPE THE SURGERY GOES WELL FOR YOU.

http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/mastoidectomy.jsp

Definition

Mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove an infected portion of the bone behind the ear when medical treatment is not effective. This surgery is rarely needed today because of the widespread use of antibiotics.

Purpose

Mastoidectomy is performed to remove infected air cells within the mastoid bone caused by mastoiditis, ear infection, or an inflammatory disease of the middle ear (cholesteatoma). The cells are open spaces containing air that are located throughout the mastoid bone. They are connected to a cavity in the upper part of the bone, which is in turn connected to the middle ear. As a result, infections in the middle ear can sometimes spread through the mastoid bone. When antibiotics can't clear this infection, it may be necessary to remove the infected air cells by surgery. Mastoidectomies are also performed sometimes to repair paralyzed facial nerves.

Description

Mastoidectomy is performed less often today because of the widespread use of antibiotics to treat ear infections.

There are several different types of mastoidectomy:


Simple (or closed). The operation is performed through the ear or through a cut (incision) behind the ear. The surgeon opens the mastoid bone and removes the infected air cells. The eardrum is cut (incised) to drain the middle ear. Topical antibiotics are then placed in the ear.


Radical mastoidectomy. The eardrum and most middle ear structures are removed, but the innermost small bone (the stapes) is left behind so that a hearing aid can be used later to offset the hearing loss.


Modified radical mastoidectomy. The eardrum and the middle ear structures are saved, which allows for better hearing than is possible after a radical operation.

The wound is then stitched up around a drainage tube, which is removed a day or two later. The procedure usually takes between two and three hours.

Preparation

The doctor will give the patient a thorough ear, nose, and throat examination as well as a detailed hearing test before surgery. Patients are given an injection before surgery to make them drowsy.

Aftercare

Painkillers are usually needed for the first day or two after the operation. The patient should drink fluids freely. After the stitches are removed, the bulky mastoid dressing can be replaced with a smaller dressing if the ear is still draining. The patient is given antibiotics for several days.

The patient should tell the doctor if any of the following symptoms occur:


Bright red blood on the dressing.


Stiff neck or disorientation. These may be signs of meningitis.


Facial paralysis, drooping mouth, or problems swallowing.

Risks

Complications don't often occur, but they may include:


Persistent ear drainage.


Infections, including meningitis or brain abscesses.


Hearing loss.


Facial nerve injury. This is a rare complication.


Temporary dizziness.


Temporary loss of taste on the side of the tongue.

Key Terms


Cholesteatoma
A rare but chronic inflammatory disease in which skin cells and debris collect in the middle ear, usually as a result of an ear infection.


Mastoid bone
The prominent bone behind the ear that projects from the temporal bone of the skull.


Mastoiditis
An inflammation of the bone behind the ear (the mastoid bone) caused by an infection spreading from the middle ear to the cavity in the mastoid bone.
 

relayoprxxxx

New Member
i am a relay opr and hoh

i had a mastoidectomy at age 13 and it was very successful for me

i went from having about 35-40 percent of a normal hearing range and afterwards have about 65 percent of a normal hearing range definately a noticeable increase in my hearing ability this was done because i had had many ear infections and 13 sets of tubes in 12 years the ear bones had rotted away and were replaced with plastic imitation bones

it took about a month and a half to 2 months to fully heal and drained for about 3 or 4 months after the surgery

not to painful even without painkillers but it did hurt for about 2 weeks afterwards i would say it was definately worth it

i don t use hearing aids and never have
 

ismi

New Member
Update: had one ear done last month, and it went fine. Next ear will be done in 2-3 months (just how my schedule worked out).

The doc said it was successful, but my hearing is somewhat worse than it used to be; most likely as a result of several months of otitis media (this is my perception, anyway; I'll get my hearing tested again after I recover from the second surgery).

Unfortunately, my right ear just deposited something in my hearing aid last night. I'm hoping it's just wax, but it's kind of liquidy like in an infected ear ... I'm traveling, but the university hospital is a block away, so I think I'll head by the ER and ask someone to just take a look in my ear - I am *not* screwing around with this, y'know!
 

relayoprxxxx

New Member
i had some pretty scary looking stuff coming out of my ears for about a month afterwards ur hearing shd definately be better after about a month of healing

expect some bloody earwax and a lot of liquid drainage for a month or so

u will most likely have permanent scar tissue to a certain extent

i was told that if i hadn t had the surgery done i would have very likely had to wear hearing aids

my ears dont produce normal earwax now i get these huge chunks that build up until they fall out or i pick them out with a q tip

they get about the size of a pencil eraser
 

ismi

New Member
relayoprxxxx said:
i had some pretty scary looking stuff coming out of my ears for about a month afterwards ur hearing shd definately be better after about a month of healing

expect some bloody earwax and a lot of liquid drainage for a month or so

u will most likely have permanent scar tissue to a certain extent

i was told that if i hadn t had the surgery done i would have very likely had to wear hearing aids

my ears dont produce normal earwax now i get these huge chunks that build up until they fall out or i pick them out with a q tip

they get about the size of a pencil eraser
Yeah, I had bloody drainage and gel, as expected, but that cleared up after 2-3 weeks. I've been wearing aids; my audi thinks it's time to try new aids, so hopefully that'll help. At this point, though, an infection would be a very serious issue, so I'm going to play this paranoid, eh?
 

relayoprxxxx

New Member
there is nothing wrong with being paranoid about it

i received antibiotic drops that i had to use for about a month that would fight infection in the event that there was an infection
 

loves73animals

New Member
i am a relay opr and hoh

i had a mastoidectomy at age 13 and it was very successful for me

i went from having about 35-40 percent of a normal hearing range and afterwards have about 65 percent of a normal hearing range definately a noticeable increase in my hearing ability this was done because i had had many ear infections and 13 sets of tubes in 12 years the ear bones had rotted away and were replaced with plastic imitation bones

it took about a month and a half to 2 months to fully heal and drained for about 3 or 4 months after the surgery

not to painful even without painkillers but it did hurt for about 2 weeks afterwards i would say it was definately worth it

i don t use hearing aids and never have
I just had a mastoidectomy, and am wondering if you were up and around after or before a week??
 

Jester8706

New Member
This post is old but I'll go ahead and share my experiences with having two mastoidectomy's.

When I was 2 I got a major infection in my middle ear on both side. Later would find out it was caused by our cities water filtration system that didn't filter out a certain bacteria (There are others, I've only met one but she had met 3 more that got the same thing). First I was given tubes in both ears to drain the infection. Then they found the infection traveled to the mastoid in my right ear and did a canal wall up mastoidectomy that didn't heal normally. The surgical wound opened up after surgery and was never closed. Don't remember much about the recovery time but, there are a number negative complications with this surgery (this was in 1988 so procedure has probably significantly improved). I had a slow decline into hearing loss (Well past hearing aide eligibility), Constant infection due to the open cavity, I have a hole behind my ear so you can imagine the amount of bullying I got up to 8th grade (When I started working out lol). The cleaning of the cavity is down right torture. The Dr. uses the same suction tools used to clean your ear but since the skin inside is never touch multiple sensitivity by 10 and your close to how bad it feels. It's also has a lot of dead skin inside which can't be removed without a tool called Alligators (Instrument from Hell) these essentially look like bent scissors but are very thin. This is used to pull the dead skin out which is still clinging to living skin and hair, I usually walk away bleeding after this. I normally have to have this done every 2 or 3 months. The vertigo can be horrible at times but usually only when I get water in the cavity or the doctor is cleaning it. I also have tinnitus which for those who have it know exactly how awful it can be. I constantly have some sound in my ears even when it's completely silent.

Now we move to 1989 when I had my second mastoidectomy which this time healed correctly. Without the cavity the number of infections is greatly reduced. I still had hearing loss but mostly due to the bacteria eating away the tissue holding my ossicle bones which have been removed and replaced by titanium bones.

I've had multiple reconstructive surgeries on both ears which overtime have warped the shape of my ear canal. I can't wear a hearing aide because nothing will fit in my ears. I first learned sign language when I was 7 because the doctors feared I'd lose all hearing. I haven't yet but it's getting there. I learned to read lips very well which helps tremendously (when the person is looking at me).

I'm sure by now they have improved the procedure and I know for a fact that try at all cost to avoid it these days. But if in fact you are going to have one I was sharing my experience to possible give you some question to ask your doctor before you go through with it. Sorry this is so long but for those who are about to have it, I hope you know what your getting into.
 

temblabamomo

New Member
I had my left ear done at the beginning of February. I needed painkillers for about a week. There was moderate drainage for the first month and a half after, but it soon cleared up. Then, quite randomly, just before my last check in with the ENT, I was bleeding from my ear canal again. He told me to go back to using drops for a week. Was supposed to have another appointment the following month, but completely forgot my appt and have yet to reschedule. Had a nasty stomach virus a while back that caused a lot of vomitting, and consequently the ear began bleeding/draining again. I'm very worried that infection is back.

My hearing is either the same or somewhat worse, but I don't mind. The infection was the main issue I wanted resolved.

I am also wondering, if anyone knows, how long does it take for the incision behind the ear to stop hurting? Mine had some complications with fluid oozing out from between the sutures (no drainage tube installed), and after sutures were removed the wound remained closed but began to swell with fluid. It was unbearable and finally it burst in the middle of the night (it was WAY gross, lol). Has healed up fine ever since, but it's been 3 months now and it's still sore, and parts of my head/ear are still numb. I get jabbing pains once in a while and they suck.
 

spoonclaymore

New Member
mastoidectomy - postop

I had a serious ear infection in March of 2012 that lead to a ruptured eardrum. In April of 2012 I had a mastoidectomy performed on my right side.

It's now the end of May and I suppose I am safe from having any kind of post-op complications, but I still have tenderness and swelling in my ear. Things also feel and sound like they are underwater and this is probably due to the saline that my body needs to absorb.

I've come to accept that this may clear up in 2 days, 2 months, 2 years, 20 years or this may be it for the rest of my days.

I've also got tinnitus in my right ear - the high pitched whine that sounds like a fire alarm tone. I realize this may never go away.

It is strange to be told by the ENT that this is normal, when I haven't felt normal since March when this all started. Luckily my hearing has returned to a baseline of normality, but I know my hearing is not what it used to be as I can't hear what someone is saying unless I am looking at them and focusing on their voice, and in a crowd all the sounds run together. Restaurants are the worst with the conversation noise and the clattering of silverware. Hopefully the other alternative - an infected skull or brain has been avoided.
 

qodax

New Member
I was Diagnosed in 1977 with choleastomas and have had at least five surgeries , the last being around 2002, the surgeries have left me with minimal and chronic deteriorating hearing in my affected left ear , I cannot wear a normal hearing aid as my ear swells and immediatley upon insertion , now suffering from dizziness, pain, severe headaches etc so it back to the dr for scan and check up. Last full check up on 2009 was clear .

the surgeries were ok but disease overtime has caused complete erosion of the bone between roof of ear and brain dura lining hence constant threat of brain infection of recurring disease from ear cavity.

because of the shape of ear canal after surgeries the wax accumulates on the roof of ear canal as a very hard crust that hurts to remove and causes excess pressure and diziness ,

but take heart i am alive to tell you that despite all of this you will adapt and there ppl out there to help you adapt to lead a relatituationively normal life depending on your own s
 

palmtreegirl

New Member
I had my surgery in April. I went home the same day and was able to go out the next day. Only took 2 pain pills. On the negative side, my hearing has not improved at all, and I still have numbness on that side of my head. I also have a strange bubbling sensation when I press on the side of my head. ENT said continue the Abt drops and come back in August. Does anyone have any insight? Thanks
 

NaidaUP

Well-Known Member
Ive had 3 of these ops back in the 90s. To many burst ear drums and infections.

Left had to be done in 2 stages as it was so bad and my right done in one stage.

When the left was done first time, the ear came back open again after stitches removed and flopped down. Was admitted back into hosp and it took a month for it to heal and I was allowed home.

Has not caused more hearing loss tho, mine is all senso.
 

NaidaUP

Well-Known Member
I had my surgery in April. I went home the same day and was able to go out the next day. Only took 2 pain pills. On the negative side, my hearing has not improved at all, and I still have numbness on that side of my head. I also have a strange bubbling sensation when I press on the side of my head. ENT said continue the Abt drops and come back in August. Does anyone have any insight? Thanks
I can't feel my ears at all even after 10 years. They are still numb.

The bubbling sensation maybe fluid?
 

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
*Sigh*...I've had 4 surgeries, each ear....last one July 2012....was fine until 2 days ago....then noticed and feeling the drainage from the left ear AGAIN....called the ENT...go back again Friday....Been suffering from ear infections for many years....Cholesteatoma was diagnosed in the left ear last year, 2 surgeries since and have the feeling many more surgeries are ahead of me.....Antibotics and infection pills are not helping at all it seems.

Guessing you guys know that not to get any water in your ears!....I've followed that religiously for many years...but still the infections come back.

Vaccuming the ear(s) does seem to help a lot for awhile (at the ENT's office)....dizziness and loss of balance is pretty common also and the pressure....headaches too....Good Luck to all of you....
 

itsallgreat

New Member
jester8706

HI
I read your post and I sure have alot of questions about having a mastoidectomy! I have had ear infections now for at least a year, and I had to keep going to the ENT doc to have the ear suctioned out. Was given drops but they didn't seem to work that great.
Finally, he suggested putting boric acid powder in there but all that seems to do is stir up the tinnitus and cause this brownish gunk to mix with the white powder..plus that full feeling in my ear. I hate this! am so fed up with it.
Had a CT scan and it showed a tiny perforation in the mastoid bone....he mentioned surgery but since the ear was dry the day I saw him, and looked ok to him, we let it go. But, less than a week later, I'm back in the soup with it...except there is no watery drainage this time.
I have BPPV (positional vertigo) and cannot sleep on my left side nor do I make any fast moves in turning my head....and I have managed to cope with this for a number of years.
Am really afraid that it will get worse if I have this surgery, but then again it might get better even though the two conditions probably aren't really related? who knows. I don't get much info from the ENT, and have had to spend hours online, learning alot about the various disorders that this could be.
Were you better after the surgery? Were you dizzy afterwards?
 

fishingscott

New Member
Mastoidectomy

Hi

I have had 4 Mastoidectomy's in the Past 2 years. The first one was in Feb 2011 for a Cholesteatoma (left ear), second April 2011 for a Cholesteatoma (right ear). Jan 2012(right ear) again Cholesteatoma came back, Aug 2012 (left ear) again infected mastoid cells. My first 2 operations were less than perfect the 1st surgeon more or less screwed up, I got a new surgeon for the last 2 surgeries. My left ear was full of a huge Cholesteatoma which had invaded 2 of the 3 hearing bones he removed the Cholesteatoma but when he rebuilt me ear canal the bone he grafted became like a DAM and trapped more fluid in the left over mastoid cells requiring surgery # 2 of the left ear. Which I just had Aug 1st with the new surgeon, tomorrow will be 2 weeks and it is still sore I am still dizzy. This surgery is still new so I don’t know what to expect.

My right ear had what I was told was a small Cholesteatoma and was going to be a walk in the park compared to 1st left ear operation, boy was the 1st surgeon wrong. Everything seemed to go ok for the first 2 weeks I was sore, dizzy, taste was funny on right side and some weird drainage which I complained about, which I was told and I quote “that part of the operation drainage is normal". (This went on for 3 months) I did not trust his judgment so my wife being in an ENT Nurse suggested we try a new doctor. So we did, that weird drainage I was told was normal was staph treated that for awhile got that all cleared up went for another CT scan, found out that the Cholesteatoma was back and bigger than ever or was it ever really gone who knows. So operation #2 on right ear with the new Doctor he did a jam up job he is freaking good but your only can fix so much that the 1st doctor screwed up. I still have taste issues with the right ear from the 1st operation due to a cut nerve which I now have to see a neurologist about. But I guess if I would have went to surgeon #2 first the operations would not have been that bad. A Mastoidectomy hurts but you shouldn’t have to take pain pills for more than a week, your ear however will be sore for some time depending on what is done or if grafts are needed to be taken from different parts of your ear to me that what hurt the most was were grafts were taken. Expect to be dizzy even when they say you shouldn’t be, you may have a difference in taste as the nerve runs very close to your ear drum. Even as much as I went through in the past 2 years I feel better knowing I do not have any more Cholesteatoma or infected mastoid cells which could lead to further problems or death. I don’t know if anyone will get anything out of this it ended up being more of a paper than a reply.
Good luck
Scott
 

rebecca1988

New Member
I was diagnosed with having a cholesteatoma three years ago, first i had a left atticotamy a few months after diagnosis, and then this year at my annual check up I found out it had come back. Last week I had a modified radical mastoidectomy where they removed all the eroded bones (apart from the stapes) and made me a new ear drum close to the stapes so if anything I should be able to hear better when everything has healed.
My last operation I had no pain at all as there was some temporary nerve damage so I was numb during recovery, so I was surprised this time when it really does hurt. The doc only sent me home with paracetamol and ibuprofen and it's not enough.

I've not got a drainage tube, but I've got a BIPP wick, a medicated dressing in the ear canal which acts like a wick in an oil lamp, slowly drawing the fluid out. That will stay in my ear for three weeks, then I have to go back to the ENT to take it out.

While they were in there, they were going to open up the mastoid cavity using some cartilage from my outer ear as my cavity is particularly small and one of the reasons I have so many problems. For whatever reason they didn't manage to. So fingers crossed I wont need surgery again!
 

Dakota14

New Member
Hi All, I'm new to this post and website. I thought I'd also share my experiences if it helps anyone else in the future. I'm also hoping to get some advice as to what others have done to relieve some of the symptoms associated with Chronic otitis externa or media.
I was diagnosed with otitis externa when I was 18 mos old, I am now 44. When I was 8 I had my first radical mastoidectomy on my right ear, then when I was 11 or 12 I had a revision surgery.
My first experience was great (I know weird right) but truthfully, I had a great doctor who pioneered this type of surgery. I went to Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston and they treated me wonderfully. Didn't like the anesthesia of course because back then it was the big black mask with ether gas, yuck.
Unfortunately I had to have another one but that seemed to do it. I have about 75% hearing loss in my right ear, slight numbness on the upper right part where they had to cut.
I still have to go back every 6mos for cleanings, it's not infection, it's wax build up and debris that happens when you have such a large canal in your ear. This is really important to keep up with.
I still get infections in my left ear and I have a small hole in the ear drum, I can't go swimming or get my ears wet at all which has been the story of my life.
In any case, I still get mild infections on the right side as well which I have right now w/some whooshing tinnitus that's really annoying.

All in all having the surgery is definitely better than dealing w/the infections and taking loads of antibiotics that aren't good for you either, in my opinion. I'm sure I'll need hearing aides in the future if not now which is fine.
The one thing that is most bothersome after having the surgery and having such a large canal is if any wind or even cold air gets into that ear, I immediately get vertigo. That's probably the only downside, just have to make sure I have ear muffs when I go out in the cold weather.
Hope this helps...
 
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