Tympanoplasty - Ear Drum Repair

Eardrum repair, called tympanoplasty, is a procedure to correct a defect or perforation in the eardrum (tympanic membrane). Ossiculoplasty is the repair of the small bones in the middle ear.

Description

Using general anesthesia, an ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist grafts a small patch of fascia (muscle sheath) onto the eardrum to repair the defect.

For problems with the small bones (ossicles), the surgeon will repair this chain of small bones using artificial ear bones or the patient’s own bone if available.


Why the Procedure is Performed

A number of problems can permanently damage your eardrum (tympanic membrane) or harm the very small bones (ossicles) that are behind the eardrum. These problems include chronic ear infections, trauma, cancer, and cholesteatoma.

This damage may cause hearing loss, pain, or an infection that does not go away. If antibiotics or other treatments do not heal chronic ear infections, then surgical eardrum repair may be necessary.


Risks

Risks for any surgery are:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Problems breathing
  • Reactions to medications

Additional risks specific to the ear include:

  • Complete less of hearing
  • Damage to the facial nerve or nerve controlling the sense of taste
  • Damage to the small bones in the middle ear, causing hearing loss
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Incomplete healing of the hole in the eardrum

Before the Procedure

Always tell your doctor or nurse:

  • What allergies you may have to any medications, latex, tape, or skin cleanser

On the day of the surgery:

  • Take only a small sip of water with any drugs your doctors have prescribed
  • Tell your doctor if you have signs of illness or infection
  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before surgery
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital

After the Procedure

Patients usually leave the hospital the same day as the surgery. It is important to avoid water in the ear. There are sometimes stitches behind or above the ear for the first week and packing material in the ear. Your health care provider may recommend the use of a hair cap when showering for a few weeks after the procedure.


Outlook (Prognosis)

In most cases, the operation relieves pain and infection symptoms completely. Hearing loss is minor. The outcome may not be as good if the bones in the middle ear need reconstruction along with the eardrum.

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