Surfers ear surgery

GWS_2

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Aug 3, 2019
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I have had one ear chiseled. The opening was down to about 5%. The Doc said he was anticipating it being a bit of a project. Told me he would try to use the chisel but since the opening was so small, couldn't guarantee he wouldn't have to drill. When he hit it with the chisel he said the whole blockage broke away almost immediately. I was out of surgery in no time and the recovery was quick. I have not used ear plugs since. Should probably go back in and have things checked.

Anyone else get tinnitus after surgery? I don't know that surgery was the cause, I'm around some loud equipment sometimes, but the ringing is with me most of the time.

A friend of a friend had the drill taken to him. They hit a nerve bundle on the side of his head. Paralyzed half of his face. Speech was seriously compromised and he had drooling problems. He had been a high dollar stock broker (back in the days when there were such things) and after the surgery he was ruined. Retired. Probably after a big lawsuit. But there is some risk...
 

btesser

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Jul 18, 2005
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FYI- to original poster, if you're in the LA area, I had my ear done at House Ear -

Ditto: i had my left ear done by Dr. Slattery at House Ear Clinic about 7-8 years ago. The guy is a total pro. He has done many, many of these surgeries. He even pulled a few strings to get my surgery scheduled early so i would heal in time for a pre-planned surf trip to Fiji.

FYI, Slattery does the drill method. Healing time is longer than chisel method, but he says it gives him much better visibility and reduces the potential that he will hit one of the nerves there causing hearing loss. My right ear is good, for now, but if i need surgery again i would not hesitate to go back to Slattery in a heartbeat.
 

jkb

Tom Curren status
Feb 22, 2005
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Central California
I have had one ear chiseled. The opening was down to about 5%. The Doc said he was anticipating it being a bit of a project. Told me he would try to use the chisel but since the opening was so small, couldn't guarantee he wouldn't have to drill. When he hit it with the chisel he said the whole blockage broke away almost immediately. I was out of surgery in no time and the recovery was quick. I have not used ear plugs since. Should probably go back in and have things checked.

Anyone else get tinnitus after surgery? I don't know that surgery was the cause, I'm around some loud equipment sometimes, but the ringing is with me most of the time.

A friend of a friend had the drill taken to him. They hit a nerve bundle on the side of his head. Paralyzed half of his face. Speech was seriously compromised and he had drooling problems. He had been a high dollar stock broker (back in the days when there were such things) and after the surgery he was ruined. Retired. Probably after a big lawsuit. But there is some risk...
I have tinnitus in my left ear and it immediately followed my second exostosis surgery on that ear. The left side of my tongue was numb for about 6 months after that surgery as well. Doctor must have nicked a nerve. Thank god it wasn't any worse, like the guy you mentioned.

Wear your ear plugs.
 

Swallow Tail

Michael Peterson status
Oct 6, 2017
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One is completely closed, the other at 95% closed. Hearing tested normal for the 95%.

Question- who has had both done at same time?

I saw Dr. Vetter in Monterey and he said it’s rough to have both done at same time bc it’s fvcked to not be able to really hear at all during recovery and advised to do one at a time. I’d rather just get it over with and both at one time.
 

jkb

Tom Curren status
Feb 22, 2005
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One is completely closed, the other at 95% closed. Hearing tested normal for the 95%.

Question- who has had both done at same time?

I saw Dr. Vetter in Monterey and he said it’s rough to have both done at same time bc it’s fvcked to not be able to really hear at all during recovery and advised to do one at a time. I’d rather just get it over with and both at one time.
I don't think you should do 2 at one time.

Recovery can be easy, or it could be brutal. You don't know how the surgery will turn out or how you will react to it in advance.

I can't remember exactly, but I think my ear was packed with foam for 2 or 3 weeks after surgery. Couldn't hear anything out of that ear. Having 2 ears packed like that would drive me crazy.
 
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Swallow Tail

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I don't think you should do 2 at one time.

Recovery can be easy, or it could be brutal. You don't know how the surgery will turn out or how you will react to it in advance.

I can't remember exactly, but I think my ear was packed with foam for 2 or 3 weeks after surgery. Couldn't hear anything out of that ear. Having 2 ears packed like that would drive me crazy.
Thanks for sharing your experience! Will probably do one at a time
 
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Belchfire1

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Jun 27, 2013
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Did you get the surgery?

If so, can you give us a report on post-op care and recovery?
I didn't end up getting the surgery. The doc said to wait to get it done and use surgery as the last possible option. My hearing hasn't gotten worse and the infections aren't a problem anymore. I wear ear plugs when I surf and that has really stopped the growth. The doc said the growth hasn't gotten worse since my last time seeing him a couple of years ago. I'm just gonna cruise and see how long I can make it. Fingers crossed I won't need the surgery anytime soon.
 
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Nov 5, 2019
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Im getting infections a lot now, the ent seemed hesitant to recommend surgery. He suggested some swimmers ear stuff from the drugstore to pour in after surfing and evaporate the water. Anyone else getting by with this method?
 

johnson7

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Sep 29, 2016
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Im getting infections a lot now, the ent seemed hesitant to recommend surgery. He suggested some swimmers ear stuff from the drugstore to pour in after surfing and evaporate the water. Anyone else getting by with this method?
I've been doing that on a pretty regular basis for the last 10 years, and at least once a year they will get buggered up to the point where I can barely hear. I'm long overdue for the procedure, and starting the search all over again with new health insurance, 3 months was the soonest I could get in, uggghhh.
 
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One-Off

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Jul 28, 2005
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Im getting infections a lot now, the ent seemed hesitant to recommend surgery. He suggested some swimmers ear stuff from the drugstore to pour in after surfing and evaporate the water. Anyone else getting by with this method?



As far was the drugstore drops, the House Ear Institute docs said just make your own mix of 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% distilled white vinegar.
 
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Before I got my ear drilled I was given a thorough hearing test. My hearing was fine . When I was told this my wife was with me. A half a decade (from when it was first diagnosed) of "I couldn't hear you" excuses were shot down. She was giving me a very annoyed look.

I asked, "If my hearing is fine why an I getting the operation?" The answer was if I got an serious infection and the ear canal completely closed up, treating the infection becomes problematic and sometimes we have to operate under emergency conditions. When we cannot see the eardrum drilling becomes very risky.

As far was the drugstore drops, the House Ear Institute docs said just make your own mix of 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% distilled white vinegar.
Thanks for the info, I guess the drops just delay the inevitable, for a time. Rather have the surgery and move on with my life. If I may ask, how much extra time did the drops buy you before you ended up getting surgery?
 

One-Off

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Jul 28, 2005
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Thanks for the info, I guess the drops just delay the inevitable, for a time. Rather have the surgery and move on with my life. If I may ask, how much extra time did the drops buy you before you ended up getting surgery?
I don't think they bought any time. But they prevent infection you might get from having residual seawater in the ear. They also help dry the ear out.

My other ear was 85% closed the last time it was checked. My MD always asks, "You read to get your other ear operated?" and I always say, "No, I'm OK. I think I'll wait." Maybe when it's over 90% closed I'll have to seriously consider it again.

I wear a hood as soon as the water gets under 62 degrees. I think that might buy some time.
 
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Why_was_I_banned

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Sep 5, 2020
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I don't think they bought any time. But they prevent infection you might get from having residual seawater in the ear. They also help dry the ear out.

My other ear was 85% closed the last time it was checked. My MD always asks, "You read to get your ear operated?" and I always say, "No, I'm OK. I think I'll wait." Maybe when it's over 90% closed I'll have to seriously consider it again.

I wear a hood as soon as the water gets under 62 degrees. I think that might by some time.
My ears start hurting in the cold, I think that's a sign to keep them warm.

I listen to tunes most sessions, and a hood when it gets cold. My last infection was a good 10 years ago. If there is any water in there after a session, or even a shower, a capful of hydrogen peroxide, then s washout with alcohol. The peroxide is great for getting wax out.