Imagine the word, ‘surgery’! Did it give you goosebumps or chill down your spine? What do you make of surgical equipment or a procedure? I gather, like most people with no or little knowledge of healthcare, the word surgery must sound like a horror movie to you. If you are aware of the intricacies of the healthcare world, you must know that the chances of complications, more often than not, depend on the skill and experience of the surgeon.
Paradigm Shift in Healthcare
Till the beginning of the 21st century, common surgical procedures involved a high risk of complications. Almost all the major surgical procedures were associated with chances of heavy bleeding, the formation of scar tissue along with the development of entirely new illnesses or disorders. But modern technology has changed a lot of areas in the healthcare industry.
New & advanced treatments are better than the open treatments, offer faster healing, are painless, don’t require a lot of medications, inflict scars and don’t leave you bed-ridden.
Because of these advantages, a lot of patients are now taking modern daycare surgical procedures. I know this as I have seen the changes in the mindset of people while working as an ENT specialist. I have undergone advanced training, qualified to perform modern procedures, capable of operating highly precise surgical equipment.
A Patients’ Story
(keeping details confidential)
I am sharing a story of one of my patients who came today for a follow-up visit. The reason he came to the clinic in the first place was whooshing sound in his ears, pain as well as difficulty hearing and occasional discharge. The symptoms were maddening, but none of the treatment which he had taken earlier worked as a solution for it. I remember when he came, he was already frustrated as he has already spent a lot of time trying to get to the bottom of the debilitating symptoms.
The patient told me that the pulsing, whooshing sound in the right ear that made it hard for him to concentrate during the day, or to sleep at night. He managed to ignore for a couple of weeks, but the pain grew progressively.
Earlier, after performing magnetic resonance venography (MRV) to look at the blood vessels, his doctor referred her to a neurologist for further testing misdiagnosing it as pseudotumor cerebri. This is not the worst of it, he was also told to lose some extra weight. Since it was recommended by a doctor, he focused on reducing the extra weight, but alas! It was all a moot point, and it made the pain in the ear as well as ringing sound even worse. The pain was only getting worse, inflicting several complications while performing day-to-day tasks and made the patient desperate to block out the noise in his head.
My patient also mentioned that he used sound machines at home and listened to music through headphones in the hope of getting a bit of relief, but nothing worked. At one point the condition became so severe that the dizzy spells turned so bad that she couldn’t manage long periods of time standing or walking. He also had to miss work as he was neither feeling well or had regular doctor’s appointments. Exhausted, frustrated, and starting to lose hope, he departed from family and friends.
After looking at an internet advertisement, he called in my clinic and scheduled an appointment. He walked in on time, I work in such an ecosystem where patients don’t have to wait in line for consultation, worry about missing the appointment and get to experience hassle-free experience.
When I diagnosed him, I asked routine questions, family medical history as well as discomfort from recurrent symptoms and how long he has been facing the same. I was surprised at him as wondered how was he able to manage his life with such a severe case of tinnitus and middle ear infection which has spread to the inner ear. The condition is also causing conductive hearing loss but since the patient has limited contact from the outside world, he was not able to realize the extent of the illness.
I told him about the condition, probable causes, severity of the same as well treatment options. At the same time, I was able to see the joy in the patient’s eyes as soon as I said “treatment options”. I was the first specialist who had given him hope for a solution,” he mentioned.
After getting to know about the treatment options, he asked, Which is the best and fastest?
I told him that he can take an advanced treatment for this disorder which will only take 30- 45 minutes to perform and he will be able to go to his home the same day. The patients instantaneously agreed and asked when can we schedule the surgical treatment.
The treatment I recommend was Tympanoplasty. It is a surgical procedure performed for the reconstruction of the eardrum aka tympanic membrane and the small structures of bones of the middle ear aka ossicles.
After all insurance clearance which is as easy as 1, 2, 3 in my clinic, we had informed him a date for modern daycare procedure to treat ear disorders. On the day of surgery, the patient arrived on time. My team took him to the operation room, prepared him for the same, and gave an anesthetic to the patient. Once the advanced surgical procedure was complete, I sent the patient in the recovery room where he woke up after the anesthetic wore out.
The patient woke up feeling unsteady and headache, but to his relief, the pulsing sound was gone, the pain was no longer there. I remember the patient trying to ensure that he completely overcome, the loud, pulsing, swooshing sound that plagued his for over a year was completely gone. He added, “I felt as soon as I opened my eyes that the treatment is really amazing and had worked!”
I consulted on complications that may develop during recovery and some precautions. Generally, I don’t ask patients to stay in hospital but I asked him if it’s ok, I wanted to monitor the vitals as well as the condition of the reconstructed ear. He agreed and stayed in for the night. After a day, he was able to go home.
What I want to highlight is that this patient is the perfect example where leaving a condition untreated or ignoring even the benign disorders can make you very sick. It may cause severe tinnitus or acute hearing loss.
In the follow-up visit, the patient said that he stopped taking the pain relievers as he was not experiencing pain. The patient added, ‘it has been 6 days since I had the Tympanoplasty surgery. The ringing sounds have diminished but do inflict mild pain occasionally. I also noticed that when there are a lot of different sounds, such as cars and everyday street sounds, my ear hears a wall of noise.’
I recommended walking on the side of the good ear, as it’s much easier to hear the sounds that way. I asked him to put the ear drops for a few days. It may feel kind of itchy inside the ear canal, but it’s a part of the healing process.
Also Read: Surgical Solutions for the Ear!