I have not posted before, but came on this forum to get some info when I was originally diagnosed back in April of this year.
I was referred by my ENT at Northwestern for an MRI due to ringing in both ears. The MRI identified a 2.5 x 1.9 x 2.0 cm mass in my left ear. My ENT referred me to Dr. james Chandler and Dr. Alan Micco. Surprisingly, I had no loss of hearing in the affected ear. They recommended a retrosigmoid approach. I was a little nervous because while Dr. Chandler is the surgical director of the neuro-oncology department at Northwestern (the neurosurgery department at NW is ranked in the top ten in the country) I found no (or very little) information about Dr. Chandler in this forum. I decided to get a second opinion from Dr. Battista, based on others recommendations on the forum, and he agreed with the retrosigmoid approach. After much thought, I decided to stick with Dr. Chandler and Dr. Micco.
One note about Dr. Chandler - when you first meet him and his nurse, you can be a bit put off. They are all business and not warm and fuzzy. Dr. Chandler does have a good sense of humor - just a really dry one. Dr. Micco is much more personable.
I had the surgery on May 8th - and am happy to report that all went well. Prior to surgery, I had been waking up with headaches in the morning sometimes 2-3 days a week. Since the surgery, headaches are few and far between. I have very little pain at the incision site - and the left side of my head still feels weird (kind of numb).
The incision - about 4 inches long, straight (up and down) about an inch behind my left ear. According to Dr. Chandler, they drilled two holes in the skull, connected the dots, removed the skull, and after surgery replaced the skull and covered the holes with titanium mesh and titanium plates (one for each hole about the size of a quarter). They barely shaved off any hair - maybe about an inch wide by 4 inches long (the incision goes a little below the hairline) - my hair is about ear length, and it essentially covers my scar (my hairdresser did not even notice the scar when I went in for a haircut about 6 weeks after the surgery). I went straight from recovery to a room on the epilepsy floor - a floor at NW dedicated to monitoring patients post-brain surgery - was standing the next day, walking to the bathroom on my own a day after that, and discharged three days after the surgery. Within a week post surgery, I was walking around the house, up and down my stairs, without any help. There was some facial paralysis on my left side immediately after surgery - but that slowly went away and after about 3 weeks was completely gone. Still no hearing in my left ear (just ringing) but Dr. Micco stated that they tested the acoustic nerve prior to closing up and it showed function - so I may eventually regain some hearing (it may take up to 18 months post surgery). I went to PT for about a month, which helped a lot with the balance. I am still working on some balance issues, but that is mainly my fault for not doing my daily exercises.
Anyway, I just wanted to post this in case there are others in the midwest looking for a doctor to perform their surgery. I can't recommend Dr. Chandler and Dr. Micco enough - and not only do I think they did a fantastic job on my surgery, the nurses and staff at the hospital were great (and the food wasn't bad).