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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Myringoplasty - Breathing issues after

03/09/2010

Question:

I had a myringoplasty performed on my left ear in May of `09. Post surgery, I experienced severe breathing difficulty or the sensation of my airway swelling shut, or the sensation of not getting enough O2 into the body. This lasted for 2 days (severe). I`m not sure if I had any nerve trauma or if I had muscles twisted in the neck due to a flacid body under general anesthesia. I did have soreness and swelling on the left side extending from the ear to the base of the neck. The swelling and soreness subsided a bit within the few few months post surgery. Almost eight months later, I am still having breathing discomfort or the sensation of not getting enough O2 into the body. I`ve noticed that my neck, when leaned to my right is more pronounced on the left side than when I`m leaning to the left in comparison to the right side. Could I have had muscles twisted during the surgery causing pressure on the carotid artery or some nerve causing that sensation. Could it be that I have pressure on my airway causing this issue? I feel I cannot get enough air in at times and it is quite discomforting. Is there some sort of blockage? Was there a possible pressure problem during the surgery with the anesthesia? My ENT (who has now passed away) said he never had anyone with that problem before. I couldn`t get a solid answer as to possibly why this would happen. I went to a chiropractor to see if my skeletal body shifted a bit during the flacid anesthesia state. Couldn`t really find anything. Something is certainly different, because I know what I felt prior to my surgery and what I felt after. Any thoughts?

Answer:

I must admit, I have not ever heard of this procedure causing this problem.  It is possible that there just happens to be a coincidence, meaning this problem is not related to the surgery.  I think you need to be evaluated without bringing the surgery into play.

I cannot even begin to formulate an opinion based on the few symptoms provided.  Also, I would think if there is some anatomical derangement from surgery it should be present all the time.  You seem to imply that this problem only bothers you occasionally now.

I believe you need to see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist to have a complete evaluation.

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Response by:

Keith M Wilson, MD Keith M Wilson, MD
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Head and Neck Division
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati