Friday, May 10, 2013

Eardrum Reconstruction Surgery

Yesterday Wynn had reconstructive surgery done on her right eardrum.

Think of an eardrum like a sandwich. The bread would be the layers of skin tissue facing out to the air and in toward the little bones that transmit sound to the inner ear's nerve center. The middle of the sandwich is a structural layer that still flexes but has to be strong enough to carry the inner and outer layers.

This year's exams showed that - for both ears - the middle structural layer had lost its bloodflow a long time ago due to infection - probably when Wynn was just a baby - and that layer has become brittle and calcified. No wonder it had holes, and no wonder why 2011's operation (more of a "patch job" on her left side) didn't succeed.

The operation this time was more extensive than the 2011 procedure; essentially what was done yesterday was a total re-build of her right-side eardrum. They took a small sheet of muscle tissue from behind her right ear to use as the structural layer, pulled back the healthy pieces of what was left of the inner and outer "bread" layers, cleared away the calcified structural tissue, tied in the 'donor' muscle tissue, and layered the "bread" layers onto the new structural base.

Wynn was in the O.R. for three hours, exactly as scheduled. In all, we left our house at 9:45 am and got back home at 7 pm. 

The surgeon was very happy with how everything went; there were no complications and she had no issues with anesthesia. Both Ann and I were in the recovery room as she woke up, and she was in much better spirits than she was after last year's pharangeal flap operation.

She was a little barfy last night, mostly due to mucus in her belly (now that spring has finally come to Minnesota, the pollen is thick ... and she gets the hayfever...).  But she slept well through the night and had a good breakfast and lunch so far today. (It's just after 3 pm & she's asking how soon dinner will happen!)

Photo time:
The hospital pajamas were absurdly large.  She decided to wear the bottoms as a pantsuit.

In the recovery room - once awake she was ready for popsicles!  She downed two in the fastest time I'd ever seen...

After the rush of adrenaline from coming up out of surgery, she was really tired. She took a nice nap in the post-op room. (I nodded off a little bit myself while Ann went across the street to the hospital cafeteria for dinner.)

If they offer you a wagon ride to the car, and you're still pretty tired, you take it!  Nibbler got to stay with her through the entire operation; what a brave little plushie. (He helped Ann through her operations too back in 2001!)

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