What is Stapedectomy?
The ear has three parts, namely external, middle and inner ear. The sound that enters via the external ear is conducted into the inner ear via three tiny bones or ossicles in the middle ear that vibrates synchronously and stimulates the nerve endings in the inner ear. These activated nerve fibers transmit electrical impulses to the brain which are then interpreted as sound by the person.
In a condition called otosclerosis, one of the middle ear bones i.e. stapes, becomes hard and fixed and cannot move freely, causing impaired sound conduction and resulting in deafness. The amount of hearing loss due to stapedial otosclerosis is determined by audiometric studies.
Audiometric studies are done with a device termed audiometer by a trained audiologist to determine the degree and type of deafness. Based on the results, hearing aids or surgery may be advised.
Types of Stapedial Surgery
Stapedectomy and stapedotomy are the two types of stapes surgery. In stapedectomy a major portion of the stapes bone, including its footplate is removed and a prosthesis/implant is placed over the remaining bit to allow sound conduction.
Currently, the more commonly used procedure is stapedotomy where the footplate of the stapes is spared and an opening is created in the footplate to permit placement of the implant within this opening.
Who Should Undergo this Surgery?
- Not all patients with otosclerosis need surgery. If the deafness is not very serious, a hearing aid may be preferred over surgery
- In some instances stapedectomy is done to improve hearing in combination with a hearing aid
- In patients with one or both ears affected by moderate to severe otosclerosis with deafness, stapedectomy operation is done to restore hearing. If both ears are affected, the ear with worse hearing is operated upon first