Ossiculoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to remove, repair, or replace one or more of the small bones of the middle ear. These three bones, called ossicles, are individually known as the malleus, the incus and the stapes. They normally vibrate in order to transmit sound waves to the eardrum and the auditory nerve. When they are congenitally malformed or damaged by infection or injury, an ossiculoplasty is required to restore hearing. During some surgeries, the damaged bone will be removed and a prosthetic will be implanted in its place.

An ossiculoplasty is performed to restore the hearing process when the
ossicles are damaged due to :

  • Anatomical genetic defect
  • Middle ear infection
  • Traumatic injury
  • Barotrauma, a sudden change in ear pressure
  • Extremely loud noise, like an explosion
  • Scarring of the bones
  • Oterosclerosis

An ossiculoplasty is frequently performed concurrently with a tympanoplasty to reconstruct the eardrum, or tympanic membrane. Sometimes the surgeon is aware of the need for bone repair in advance and sometimes a fracture is discovered during the repair of the eardrum. In the latter case, the surgeon is usually able to perform the two corrections during the same procedure.

The rate of success for an ossiculoplasty is very high, though it depends to a certain extent on the anatomy of the individual patient’s ear and the severity of the damage to the bones. Most patients do very well after this surgery, but, as with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks. The primary risks of ossiculoplasty may include a postoperative balance dysfunction and the possibility that the hearing will be worse after surgery. During the period immediately following an ossiculoplasty, patients should refrain strong nose blowing, swimming and air travel and try to avoid crowds in an effort to avoid respiratory infections.

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