Ossiculoplasty is a surgical operation done to repair, reconstruct and improve the movement of the ossicles (small, tiny interconnected bones) of the middle ear. Long-standing or recurrent middle ear infection such as otitis media, ear infection or disease can render the ossicles less mobile and damaged. Ossiculoplasty involves the restructuring of the bones of the middle ear so they can be effective or using prosthesis (replacements for ossicles).
A surgical cut or incision is made to reach the area affected. Ossiculoplasty, when properly done by an otolaryngologist, can improve hearing. There are minor risks or complication in this procedure; however some risks may be present such as reactions to anesthesia which may involve soreness or bruise around the injection side of the arm, sore throat from the breathing tube, teeth damage, nausea and muscular pains from anesthetic drugs.
Sometimes, ossiculoplasty may cause no significant change or worsen the hearing of the patient after the surgery has been performed and also permanent or temporary facial weakness caused by damage to the nerve fibers of the face which move the muscles of the face. Dizziness may also occur but is often relieved after a short period of time. Infections can occur from the penetration site which may cause pain, inflammation, and tenderness in that area. Bleeding or discharge may also occur as a result of the stitches. Ossiculoplasty may also affect the sense of taste due to damage of a specific nerve which passes through the ear space. Some people may react to the dressing in the ear canal and may be visible in the external ear. This is to be treated by an otolaryngologist and the dressings may be removed. A hearing aid may be a better alternative to ossiculoplasty.
Since smoking greatly increases the risk and complications during and after surgery, the patient is advised to quit smoking. The operation is usually carried out under general anesthesia although local anesthesia (not common) may be used. Pain relievers will be administered as prescribed by the physician. Ear care after surgery is important. There may be a slight discharge or bleeding after surgery and this should be cleaned carefully. Also sneezing with the mouth open is advisable to reduce ear pain. Strenuous activities are prohibited to the patient until the surgeon approves. Activities such as sports, flying, and driving should be avoided at least three days after the surgery. Adequate rest is also required after the surgery.