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by Woods M
(Middle Ear Repair)

Definition

Tympanoplasty is surgery to repair the eardrum and middle ear bones.

The Middle Ear
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There are three types of surgery:

  • Myringoplasty—repairs a tear in the eardrum
  • Tympanoplasty with ossiculoplasty—repairs a tear in the eardrum and corrects a defect in the bones of the middle ear
  • Tympanoplasty with mastoidectomy—repairs a tear in the eardrum and removes infected tissue in the bony area behind the ear

Reasons for Procedure

This procedure is done to:

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Hearing loss that does not improve
  • Damage to structures in the ear

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging for a ride to and from surgery

Anesthesia

The doctor may give:

  • A sedative—you will feel relaxed
  • Local anesthesia—the area will be numbed
  • General anesthesia—you will be asleep
  • Description of the Procedure

    A small cut will be made behind the ear. Some tissue will be removed from this area. This tissue will be attached to the eardrum to cover the hole. Other materials may be added to hold the graft in place. Any bones of the middle ear can be repaired at this time. A small pack may be left in the ear canal. The cut behind the ear will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be put over the area.

    How Long Will It Take?

    1 to 2 hours

    Will It Hurt?

    Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. There will be pain and discomfort after surgery. Medicine and home care can help.

    Post-Procedure Care

    At the Hospital

    After the procedure, the staff may give you pain medicine.

    At Home

    There may be discomfort for about a day. Full healing will take about 4 weeks. Some physical activities may be limited, such as swimming.

    Problems to Look Out For

    Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

    • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or discharge from the cut
    • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
    • Hearing loss
    • Lasting nausea or vomiting
    • Discharge from the ear that has a bad odor
    • Lightheadedness
    • New or worsening symptoms

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

    RESOURCES

    American Academy of Otolaryngology —Head and Neck Surgery  http://www.entnet.org 

    National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)  https://www.nidcd.nih.gov 

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery  http://www.entcanada.org 

    Health Canada  http://www.canada.ca 

    References

    Evaluation and management of middle ear trauma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/evaluation-and-management-of-middle-ear-trauma. Accessed April 21, 2022.

    Tympanoplasty/paper patch myringoplasty. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh website. Available at: https://www.chp.edu/our-services/ent/patient-procedures/tympanoplasty. Accessed April 21, 2022.

    Revision Information