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What is a Stapedectomy?

Stapectomy and stapedotomy are used interchangeably. A stapedectomy is a procedure during which is small hole drilled and/or lasered in the footplate to assist with the placement of a prosthesis through the footplate.  This hole allows the sounds to transmit through the fixed stapes bone.  

Otosclerosis is the condition of abnormal bone growth inside the ear. There are three bones of hearing, the incus, the malleus, and the stapes. The stapes or stirrup is the smallest bone in the human body. With otosclerosis, the stapes bone becomes fixed and becomes less mobile. This can cause hearing loss.


A laser stapedectomy will remove the top portion of the stapes bone and placing a hole in the remaining portion.  An implant is placed in the hole and attached to the second bone of hearing.  This allows sound to be transmitted to the inner ear. The operation is performed at an outpatient surgical facility under general anesthesia and patients are able to go home the same.

The surgeon will cut inside the ear canal and elevate the back half of the eardrum to allow access to the stapes. The top of stapes bone is removed, a hole is placed in the remaining bone and piston is placed in the hole and attached to the second bone of hearing. The surgeon will close the outer ear


There will be a cotton ball in the outer portion of the ear canal.  A Band-Aid will be placed over the cotton bald to hold it in place. Remove the Band-Aid and cotton ball the day after surgery. Change the cotton ball as often as necessary as long as the ear continues to drain. You no longer need to use a cotton ball once the cotton ball no longer into the canal.

Water should not enter the ear until advised by the doctor that the ear is healed. Keeping water out of the ear will help to encourage the healing process. To help keep water out of the ear while bathing, place a cotton ball coated in Vaseline inside the ear. 

Patients will sometimes notice a hearing improvement at the time of surgery, but this improved hearing may quickly fade due to swelling of the ear tissues and packing in the canal. 3 to 4 weeks after surgery, and improvement is usually apparent, occasionally this may not be noticeable for a few months. Full improvement may require up to six months.