Saturday, December 10, 2005

Extensive infection and surgery of the ear and mastoids

Question from person with history of extensive infection and surgery of the ear and mastoids

About four years ago I under went an operation for purulent otitis nedia, conductive hearing loss, canal stenosis, foreign body in the middle ear and protympanum; all of which was done on the right ear. The actual operation was a tympanomastoidectomy with ossicular chain reconstruction using temporalis fascial athroplasty of incudomalleolar joint, canal plasty, removal of foreigh body in protympanum. My final audiogram and impedence test showed normal ear canal volum for both ears, negative middle ear pressure l., c/w eustachian tube dysfunction. The left ear was normal. I am interested in taking a commercial underwaater weilding course. However, I am not sure if the above procedure will keep me from doing this. Can you please tell me if this will keep me from diving? Is there any kind of equipment that can keep the pressure off of my ears and allow me to dive?

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The query was referred to Dr. Allen Dekelboum for reply.

Your request was referred to me for comment.

Thank you for your very complete history of your disease and surgery. If you have negative middle ear pressure in that ear with Eustachian tube obstruction, you will not be able to equalize adequately and would be a candidate for further damage to the operated ear. Without examining you, I cannot give you any advice about your entering a diving course. I would discuss this carefully with your surgeon, but from what you tell me, I think you should try a profession that would not require you to be under water, under pressure. The only suit that would keep you out of pressure would be a one atmosphere suit (JIM suit), not available except for very sophisticated research (very expensive).

Allen Dekelboum, M.D.