Ossicular Chain Abnormalities

The sound conduction system in the middle ear consists of three small bones called ossicles. These bones can be damaged by recurrent ear infections, trauma or previous surgery. This disruption results in a conductive hearing loss that can become severe over time. Ossicular chain abnormalities can be diagnosed with an otolaryngology examination and hearing test.

What are the treatment options?

The hearing can be restored with a surgical procedure called ossicular chain reconstruction. Hearing aids can be helpful in patients who do not desire surgical treatment.

What is Ossicular chain reconstruction?

Ossicular dysfunction can be corrected with a surgical procedure called Ossicular chain reconstruction. The procedure is a relatively brief outpatient surgery performed under either local or general anesthesia. The surgery is performed through the ear canal.

How does the surgery work?

The non-functioning ossicle (bone) is removed and replaced with an artificial implant.

After Surgery Care

Antibiotic ear drops are used in the ear after surgery. Regular activities are started the next day. Patients are typically seen 1-6 weeks after surgery to ensure proper healing and a hearing test is performed.

How Long Does the Surgical Correction Last?

The hearing implant typically lasts for the life of the patient. In a small number of cases, the implant function may decrease over time. In these cases, revision surgery can often restore the hearing again.

By Joseph Chang, MD


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