“I am unhappy that I have right ear pain, and it is difficult to communicate with other people,” shares Sao, a 39-year-old wife and mother. She works as a cook and cares for her parents in her home in Cambodia.
“For two years, Sao has experienced discharge from her right ear every day as well as hearing loss,” our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC), tells us. “She has been treated with antibiotics at another hospital, but her condition did not improve.”
Doctors at CSC have discovered a cholesteatoma—an abnormal skin growth located behind the eardrum—in Sao’s right ear. A cholesteatoma initially develops as a cyst after chronic ear infections or perforation of the eardrum. Over time, the cyst sheds layers of old skin that collect within the ear. Without treatment, a cholesteatoma can grow large enough to cause hearing loss, dizziness, or facial paralysis.
Treatment for Sao is a mastoidectomy, a surgical procedure in which doctors remove the diseased cells in the hollow, air-filled spaces in the skull behind the ears. The cells—known as mastoid air cells—are diseased as a result of the chronic ear infections that spread to the skull structures near Sao’s right ear. Doctors will also remove the cholesteatoma that has grown behind her right eardrum.
$809 pays for surgery for Sao as well as two hearing tests, one night in the hospital, one day of inpatient post-operative care, and three outpatient follow-up visits in the month following surgery.
“Sao’s ear discharge and pain will stop after the surgery,” says CSC.
Sao’s uncle, who accompanied her to the appointment at CSC, looks forward to a successful procedure for his niece. “I hope after the operation is done, Sao’s ear discharge will stop, and she can have good hearing and health,” he shares.