"Brilliant care, but long recovery after Mastoid surgery"

About: Freeman Hospital / Ear, Nose and Throat

(as the patient),

After years of ear infections I finally got a diagnosis and I had a cholesteotoma removed about 18 months ago. A cholesteotoma is a type of benign tumor of the middle ear cavity and I was told that not having it removed would have run the risk of meningitis, brain damage, facial droop etc. so I had it fixed.

Surgery went well, care was brilliant, surgeon extremely professional, waiting list very short. However, a month or so after surgery my balance system went to pieces. I had vertigo, couldn’t really drive as I had the sense of being about to black out on motorways, of the car rolling backwards when it wasn’t etc.

I returned to ENT and was told that my balance organ was just settling down but it took more than a year before I learned to cope with this properly. It still isn't right but these days I take travel sickness pills if I am to drive a long distance (Sturgeron, one of the drugs they use to treat vertigo) and it’s OK but my advice to anyone facing this surgery is to think hard, weigh up the risks and be aware of the potential recovery time. I was told that my issues were extremely unusual but my quality of life has been reduced to some degree since the surgery and looking back I'm not sure I would have had the surgery if I'd known that this would happen.

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