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Old 08-09-2019, 09:51 AM   #1
Slug
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Ear Surgery Advice

So, I need some ear surgery for surfers ear (both ears 90% blockage, right ear is a little worse probably from NW wind). I'm just looking for anyone who's had this done and what the recovery was like in regards to diving. The ENT Dr mentioned that he uses the apply named "Chisel Method" and that sounds freaking fantastic..... the other "Peel and Drill" method also sounds really fun. have any of you guys or gals had this done? and what was your experience with recovery / getting back in the water. Also, and maybe this is a better question for my Dr, Can you get them both done at the same time? Any information is welcome. Thanks
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Old 08-09-2019, 11:26 AM   #2
Lompoc Local
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Re: Ear Surgery Advice

Slug. I love you.

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Old 08-09-2019, 12:55 PM   #3
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Re: Ear Surgery Advice

My roommate got both ears done. He did one at a time. It went smoothly for him and his recovery time was quick! Was out surfing /diving I want to say within a few weeks? Has zero issues with them now. Get it done.
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Old 08-09-2019, 03:25 PM   #4
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Re: Ear Surgery Advice

Had to have the left ear done. I had a small incision in my outer ear about 1/2 inch. Cutting behind the ear is super painful from what friends have told me. My understanding is that both procedures involve a chisel. I’ve heard that cutting outside and behind the ear avoids some nerve bundles. My physician developed the small incision technique and claimed zero unforeseen complications. For some reason my balance was a little wonky so I stayed off work 4 weeks total. I’m in EMS so I can’t sit at a desk all day. If you’re near or willing to visit Los Angeles call Dr. Tzadik. I know probably 2 dozen people he has operated on and all were very happy. He doesn’t take insurance but can work on pricing. PM me your # if you want to talk about it.
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Old 08-10-2019, 09:45 AM   #5
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Re: Ear Surgery Advice

I have had both ears done. It wasn’t fun, but definitely worth doing. The pain wasn’t bad, the most annoying thing was having my ears stuffed with dressing while they healed...an interesting side effect is that now my ears retain wax to the extent that at least twice a year, I have to go in and have the wax sucked out. I still dive, however, I have stopped body surfing. I found that body surfing is harder on the ears. I causes sand and gunk to accumulate in the ears. It has been 25 years since my first ear was done, 15 since the second. I know my hearing isn’t what it used to be, but I blame that on rock and roll. My doctor was Kevin Miller in Santa Monica. He is a good dude and ex-surfer.
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:46 PM   #6
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Re: Ear Surgery Advice

Having my left ear 98% closed and right ear 100% I had to stop diving for 10 years because I couldn't equalize. It sucked. Once it got to the point that I'd be out of the water for weeks with ear infections every time I surfed, I still didn't get the surgery. It took almost getting hit by a forklift at work 3 times in 3 weeks to finally make me wake up. By that point, I was 80% deaf and had extreme Tinititus where your head rings like a bell nonstop.

Typically they won't let you do both ears at the same time because it's a fairly serious surgery. Like a 5 hour process if you do the slice the ear off and drill your skull routine like I did. I had multiple doctors through the process tell me to make sure the guy you have do the procedure has done ALOT of them. Not hard to find them these days as it's more common. If they screw up, you've got nothing but nerves around your ear canal and it takes them 5 hours because it ain't straight and it ain't easy. They hit the wrong nerve and half your face goes slack. Forever. Before they drill, they slice the skin off your canal and after they drill they pack it back in on top of the fresh bone. If the skin doesn't take they have to skin graph and you're out of the water for 10-12 months. When they pulled that packing out of my ear, I passed out. It felt like they pulled one of my testicles out through that little hole, I'll never forget it.

That is all a bit scary which is why I put it off for so long. Also, I was just a surf bum and didn't have the insurance coverage. Once I reached the point of almost dying because of it, there was no other option. Fortunately by that time I grew up a little and had good medical coverage. With all that was said above, I'm a huge fan of this procedure. It improved my life on an unprecedented scale. I was out 6 weeks with the first ear and 4 with the second which my doctor told me was one of his records.

I didn't have an ear infection or any issues at all for 10 years after the surgery. In the 5 years since then, I think maybe I've had 3.That is unreal after fighting issues for the 15 years prior to the surgery. The best thing of all is......I can hear again. I'll never take that for granted again. It was miserable for me and those around me.

The only regret I have is that first infection I got 10- years later. It was about the first year of this latest el nino and the fish were going bonkers. I was on a mission and I was on fire. I dove on that ear infection repetitively until I got an inner ear infection which turned into positional vertigo. Gnarly for a while. Then, when I finally got rid of it, the tinititus came back and it hasn't gone away. At the time, I also lost about 15% of my hearing in my right ear which has continued to get worse. Maybe as bad as 50% now. It totally sucks. I regret pushing it now and would choose differently now.

Don't screw around. GET IT DONE. It will improve your life and you'll get to live in the promised land with no ear issues for a long time. It's epic.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:17 AM   #7
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Re: Ear Surgery Advice

Thank you everyone for the info. Really helpful. As suggested by you folks I'll be moving forward to get this done. Heynorton, thank you for the Dr recommendation. I have a CT in early September and then the ball will start rolling. Hopefully will get them both done in the same calendar year. Thanks again.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:59 AM   #8
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Re: Ear Surgery Advice

John, your procedure is one of the most extreme. When it’s time to repeat it I’m sure you’ll find that there are much better options these days. Slug, is CT consultation or a scan?
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:21 PM   #9
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Re: Ear Surgery Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaClAddict View Post
John, your procedure is one of the most extreme. When itís time to repeat it Iím sure youíll find that there are much better options these days. Slug, is CT consultation or a scan?
Fortunately I'm not sure I will have to repeat although I know some do. I'm curious to know what other types of procedures other than chipping or lasers are out there? To my knowledge neither of those work once you are past a certain point (which I was.)
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:44 PM   #10
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Re: Ear Surgery Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaClAddict View Post
John, your procedure is one of the most extreme. When itís time to repeat it Iím sure youíll find that there are much better options these days. Slug, is CT consultation or a scan?
I think its just the scan, they told me it was necessary in order to determine where some facial nerves were located.
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