Symptoms and causes

Symptoms and causes

What is it?

Stapedotomy is a procedure that we can perform in certain cases for otosclerosis (calcification in middle ear or inner ear).


Stapedotomy is not performed very often. At our hospital, we perform it relatively often in comparison with other hospitals.

A stapedotomy is a minor procedure that usually only lasts 45 minutes. There is usually no externally visible incision (we enter through the ear canal). There is little blood loss, and the procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis. It is a delicate procedure, however, because we create an opening to the very delicate organ that is the cochlea.


Discomfort during the first few days may include:

  • a slight change in taste (in young people, this almost always recovers after a few weeks: in older patients, a slightly altered sense of taste sometimes remains)
  • light balance disturbance for a few days
  • unpleasant, shrill sound quality: this always improves after a few weeks

Potential risks

There is an approximately 1% risk of hearing loss (in the best case scenario, light hearing loss, and in the worst case scenario, deafness, tinnitus and/or balance disturbances).

Guidelines for at home

After the procedure, you may not play sports, fly or perform strenuous labour for three weeks. You may not swim for one month.

Tinnitus usually improves, but it may be slightly worse during the weeks following the procedure. If patients are anxious and focus on it, then it may remain, as with all forms of tinnitus. Since we began supporting patients with a ‘tinnitus consultation’ session before the procedure, we no longer see this problem anymore.


Results are very good: approximately 90% of patients is very satisfied. The other 10% agree that the procedure had a result, but they had higher expectations from it.

Centres and specialist areas

Centres and specialist areas
Ear, nose, and throat diseases (ENT)

Latest publication date: 17/01/2022
Supervising author: Dr Vermeiren Judith