Surgery Recovery

Recovery Time

Based on anecdotal observations, the average recovery time from SCDS surgery is around 6 weeks.

It is normal for patients to experience severe dizziness and vertigo in the early days of the recovery process. These post-operative symptoms will gradually improve over the initial weeks as your brain retrains its balance system. You may not be able to hear out of the operated ear either for the initial first few weeks, as the canal will be initially clogged with dried blood from the surgery.

My SCDS Surgery Experience

I had successful MFC surgery in 2022. I was terrified prior to surgery, but surgery wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, and while full recovery was frustrating and slow, it wasn't painful.

Everyone's recovery is different, but I feel like my experience was pretty close to the average recovery:

  • I spent 2 nights in the hospital recovering, and I was able to leave the hospital unassisted on Day 3 (though I was told patients typically need assistance with mobility still at this point).

  • Pain was minimal, and managed mostly with Tylenol.

  • Severe vertigo kicked in on Day 5, which I was warned would happen as inflammation began, and I vomited several times on Day 5. Lesson: have a bucket nearby the first few days! 
    • What did vertigo feel like? It felt like being on a rocking boat, where the floor would wobble unevenly, and having a lot of nausea.
  • For the nausea, over-the-counter Dramamine/Gravol was strong enough to handle the motion sickness (though your surgeon may provide a prescription drug if it persists).

  • Walking is the best way to help retrain your balance after surgery. I tried to go for a 30 minute walk every day. Some days this was easy to do, some days it was challenging.

  • Post-op vertigo and imbalance was very intense during the first several weeks, and it felt like being very drunk. However, it slowly improved with each week, and was fully resolved within 6 weeks.
  • In terms of hearing, you probably won't be able to hear out of the operated ear initially. This is normal. Progress for myself went like this:
    • Weeks 1-2: no hearing (due to fluid blocking the entire canal)
    • Weeks 3-4: partial hearing with internal sounds (clicks, different frequencies, etc.)
    • Weeks 5-6: hearing at 50% restored
    • Week 8: hearing fully restored
  • I initially had a large surgical scar on the side of my head, but my hair grew back and covered it within a month. To be honest, I kind of miss seeing it... it looked very hardcore. 😅

  • The hardest part about the post-op recovery is patience. The mind recovers faster than the body does from the surgery, and often I felt frustrated and bored with slow, incremental improvements over the weeks. Having some kind of easy but engaging personal project or hobby to work during the first month will definitely help.

Next: SCDS Surgeons