Who Dat? Ear. Ear Who?

Ear and Balance Institute, that’s who, and surgeon Gerard Gianoli, the reason Todd and I are in Louisiana again, almost five years after his first surgery to correct superior canal dehiscence syndrome, or SCDS (an area of missing bone above one of the canals of the inner ear), on his right side. This time, as you can tell from Dr. G’s signature, the operation is on the left side.

Left Ear Surgery Dr. Gianoli's signature on Todd's left ear Nov 2013 IMG_3538

I don’t remember all this “Who Dat?” stuff from 2009, but now it’s everywhere. Dr. G has changed his approach to the surgery, which Todd explains in this blog post. So if you want to know what “transmastoid” means, then read it. The benefit to Todd is an easier recovery—he spent only one night in the hospital, for instance, and has less pain. Dr. G has also added an additional procedure, however—he still uses a bone graft to close the dehiscence (hole), but now he also reinforces the oval and round windows in the inner ear by packing material around them. That means complete recovery will take longer. Todd may not have hearing in that ear for months. But one thing hasn’t changed—he still was sent home with the half-Leia bun.

Left Ear Surgery Todd at Homewood Suites after surgery Nov 2013 IMG_3539

That stayed on from Thursday until Sunday, and then I had the delightful task of pulling it off (since I didn’t have scissors) and tugging on the cotton stuffed into his ear until it also came out. Luckily there were no screams of pain.

Left Ear Surgery Todd doing vestibular exercises Nov 2013 IMG_3555

Here he is doing vestibular exercises, in which he looks from one object to another, with or without moving the head. It’s supposed to retrain the inner ear.

P.S. I didn’t bring my external flash with me on this trip, which meant I had fewer options to deal with the variety of lighting on the road from the airport, in the hospital, and in the hotel room.

P.P.S. If you or someone you know has SCDS, please check out SCDS Support, an online forum.