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Author Topic: Day 5 - Post Surgery - Philadelphia, USA  (Read 18089 times)
Posts: 3

« on: May 29, 2012, 03:55:11 PM »

Hi guys, I'll try to keep this brief! I figured I'd write this as most of the stories featured on the "stories" board sound like worst case scenarios

Deric, 33 year old male, Philadelphia, PA area

Symptoms Timeline -

I had a bad sinus infection in October 2011. Even though I got better, the fluid in my left ear never went away. Developed pulsatile tinnitus shortly thereafter.  Since I had congestion/tubes/perforated eardrum in RIGHT ear before, I chalked it up to fluid and didnt think much of it.  Fast forward to late February 2012.  Noticed consistent ringing in left ear and definite decrease in hearing. Went to ENT.

ENT/Surgeon Timeline

I went to ENT, described symptoms, and was told to take steroid and antibiotic to clear out fluid, although doctor seemed troubled, as he didnt see much fluid in my ear.  Came back 2 weeks later with no improvement.  The doctor kept looking in my ear and told me I might have otosclerosis.  I was told to get CAT scan.  CAT scan technician diagnosed me with cholesteatoma.  My ENT doctor said "I see this once every 7, 8 years, I'm not going to touch you.  You need to go to the University of Pennsylvania.

I schedule an exam with Dr. Ruckenstein at UPenn. He is considered one of the top in his field in this part of the US. First appointment was early April 2012.  Couldnt get scheduled for surgery until end of May 2012.


I was told the surgery would take 1 hour....3 hours into it, my family and wife that were waiting for me became very worried.  Turns out, once they opened me up (via incision top to bottom along crease where ear meets head), the cholesteatoma was more widespread than indicated on CAT scan.  It had begun to grow into interior wall of eardrum.  So on top of having my incus bone removed, they had to remove my eardrum as well.  A titanium prosthetic was used to replace incus bone, skin/cartilage was taken from "general area" to reconstruct my eardrum. A tube was placed in my new eardrum to let blood/fluid drain out as needed. The only post-surgery advice I was given were not to fly or swim until checkup 3 weeks out from then.

Post surgery

The next 2 days were very painful for me. My head swelled up quite a bit to the point that my cheek/jaw/temple area were not discernible from the other.  They only gave me Tylenol with Codeine for the pain, which didnt do much!  The incision hurt the most, a mix between itchiness and pain when turning head, talking, laughing, etc. If I didnt keep a cotton ball in my ear and tilted head to left, blood and clear fluid would run out of my ear down neck.

I started to bounce back days 3, 4, 5.  As I type this, it's my first day back to work.  I ended up only having to miss 3 days.
The first day I could barely hear anything, now Ive slowly noticed my hearing coming back.  What kind of has me worried is I still have 1) ringing 2) pulsatile tinnitus, but Im hoping this will fade gradually as my hearing comes back over next week or so?

My ear/temple area is pretty numb, I was told the nerves/feeling will eventually come back.  Surprisingly, my new eardrum doesnt hurt at all, but it itches like mad. Im afraid to scratch it though or use q-tip for fear of poking through it, lol. My taste has definitely been affected.  I have a strong metallic after taste, almost like blood in my mouth.  Im expecting this to go away as well.

Couple questions for you guys. After your surgery, did you still have ringing/pulsatile tinnitus?  And if so, did it eventually fade the couple weeks after surgery?  The only reason I can guess as to why its still doing it is because my ear is still swollen and everything hasnt healed yet.

Thanks guys!  If anyone wants to reach out to me, please email me!

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