Tympanoplasty Surgery – Before, During and One Week On

by thenibecamemum

Today marks a week since I had tympanoplasty surgery. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my hearing journey which led me to needing tympanoplasty. I realise that this is not the usual posts that I write. However, at the time, I scoured the Internet looking for information on other people’s experience as there really wasn’t a lot of detail on the NHS website. I found that other people’s experiences were helpful and set my expectations. So here I am, sharing my experience for others.

Pre-Op

On the day of my Tympanoplasty surgery, I arrived at 8am having been nil by mouth since midnight. I was signed in at the reception desk and soon taken into the Day Surgical Unit. Here I was checked in and given a chair.

Not long after being checked in, an anaesthetist and surgeon came to speak to me about the procedure and to check my general health. This was followed by a nurse who checked my vitals and calf measurements. I was then handed a lovely gown and compression socks to put on. 

Then it was just a waiting game until it was my turn. Lots of books and puzzles got me through!

Be prepared to be asked your details over and over again as you will be visited by several professionals – nurse, surgeon, anaesthetist – during your time there. 

Theatre

After having my operation pushed back several times, I was finally taken to theatre around 1pm. A surgeon came to collect me and we walked to the anaesthetic room.

I was attached to ECG electrodes and was given a cannula (which I hate – especially when my veins never play nice!). The cannula was then attached to a tube and saline water was flushed through the line. This was followed by the anaesthetic. I barely counted to 5 and I was out for the count!

Post-Op

I returned from surgery at around 3pm. Coming round after the anaesthetic wasn’t as bad as I remembered. However, I had mentioned to the anaesthetist that I suffered from sickness last time so he said he’d try to give me something to counteract it – no guarantees – so it’s always worth mentioning!

I was groggy but felt no pain from my ear. My head had been bandaged like Pudsey Bear. 

During my recovery, the consultant and another surgeon came to see me to expIain how the surgery had gone. They explained that they had replaced s bone in the middle ear with a prosthesis but they had not repaired the ear drum as sadly, they found a cholesteatoma. This meant that I would need to go back in for surgery at a later date. 

After this, I recovered well from the anaesthetic. I ate and drank, moved about and passed urine (as is required before you can leave). Once my bandages were removed, at 6:30pm, I was free to leave. I was to wait for a follow-up appointment to have my packing removed. This would be followed by a CT scan and finding out what the next steps would be.

Day After Tympanoplasty

The following day, for me, was worse than the day of my surgery. The packing, that had been placed in my ear to keep everything in place, felt like a constant pressure against my ear canal. I felt sick and tired, and completely off balance. Even harder was the fact that I wasn’t allowed to pick heavy items up so looking after my toddler was impossible. My husband had to be on hand 24/7.

Every 6-8 hours, I changed the Vaseline coated cotton wool ball inside my ear and it was covered with gooey, bloody mess. This cotton ball was also to be used when taking a shower. To begin with, I avoided washing my hair for atleast 3-4 days. After that, I used a cotton wool ball along with some weird covers for ears (like mini shower caps!) that I found on eBay. These made me feel a little more relaxed about putting water next to my ear.

I also found that my face became extremely swollen. It was painful to open my jaw too far so anything too chewy was a no-go for me.

One Week after Tympanoplasty Surgery

Today is a week since having my Tympanoplasty surgery. I won’t lie, I’m not 100% at all. I’m still having a lot of ear pain (feels very similar to the soreness you get when suffering an ear infection). I still feel completely off balance and I’m still changing bloody cotton wool balls (I’m not sure at what point that’s supposed to stop). Because of this pain, I still feel it necessary to take pain medicine several times a day which helps hugely.

Weirdly, the incision hasn’t been a problem at all. It only stings if somebody knocks it (that’s what happens when you have a loving two year old who wants ‘cuggles’). What I’m really finding hard though is that my ear is sticking out a lot more than usual. I keep telling myself that it is just because my face is still swollen (jaw and temple, still = ouch!).

I have to admit that I thought I’d be up and running by this point. However, I realise that I need to be more patient! I’ve still got a lot of healing and won’t know the full effects of the Tympanoplasty surgery until three weeks have passed. It’s going to be a long wait!

Feel free to ask questions or share your experiences!

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