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What do I need to know about a stapedectomy?

A stapedectomy is surgery to remove part or all of your stapes and replace it with a prosthesis. The stapes is a horseshoe-shaped bone in your middle ear. Stapedectomy is used to restore your hearing. Surgery is usually done on one ear at a time.

Ear Anatomy

How do I prepare for surgery?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery.

What will happen during surgery?

You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you will not feel any pain. Your surgeon will insert a small scope, or use a microscope and tools in your ear. A scope is a small tube with a light and camera on the end. He will remove part or all of the stapes bone and replace it with a prosthesis. Your surgeon will secure the prosthesis and place gauze in your ear. Your ear may be covered with a bandage.

What are the risks of surgery?

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may be dizzy for several days or weeks. You may have nausea or vomit. Your eardrum may tear. You may have weakness or not be able to move one side of your face. Your sense of taste may change, or you may lose taste on the side of your tongue. You may develop ringing in your ears. Your hearing may not improve with surgery, or it may get worse. In rare cases, you may lose your hearing completely.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have weakness or cannot move one side of your face.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have severe pain.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have sudden hearing loss.
  • You have severe dizziness or dizziness that does not get better.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines can help decrease pain or dizziness. You may also need medicine to prevent an infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for your wound as directed:

Keep the area dry and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.


  • Rest lying down with your surgery ear facing toward the ceiling for 48 hours. Only get up to go to the bathroom. This will help decrease swelling and pain, and help settle your prosthesis in place.
  • Do not strain your ear. Do not blow your nose for at least 1 week. Avoid loud noises, such as concert music. Do not swim or submerge your ear under water.
  • Resume normal activities as directed. You can usually go back to your usual activities in 2 to 4 weeks. You may need to avoid flying or diving for 6 months. Do not bend or lift heavy objects.
  • Try to avoid others who are sick. This will help prevent infection.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Stapedectomy (Ambulatory Care)

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