Eardrum repair

Definition

Eardrum repair refers to one or more surgical procedures that are done to correct a tear or other damage to the eardrum (tympanic membrane).

Ossiculoplasty is the repair of the small bones in the middle ear.

Description

Most adults (and all children) receive general anesthesia. This means you'll be asleep and unable to feel pain. Sometimes, local anesthesia is used along with medicine that makes you sleepy.

The surgeon will make a cut behind the ear or inside the ear canal.

Depending on the problem, the surgeon will:

The surgeon will use an operating microscope to view and repair the eardrum or the small bones.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

The eardrum is between the outer ear and the middle ear. It vibrates when sound waves strike it. When the eardrum is damaged or has a hole in it, hearing may be reduced and ear infections may be more likely.

Causes of holes or openings in the eardrum include:

If the eardrum has a small hole, myringoplasty may work to close it. Most of the time, your doctor will wait at least 6 weeks after the hole developed before suggesting surgery.

Tympanoplasty may be done if:

These same problems can also harm the very small bones (ossicles) that are right behind the eardrum. If this happens, your surgeon may perform an ossiculoplasty.

Risks

Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general are:

Risks for this procedure include:

Before the Procedure

Tell the health care provider:

On the day of the surgery for children:

After the Procedure

You or your child may leave the hospital the same day as the surgery, but may need to stay the night in case of any complications.

To protect the ear after surgery:

Until your provider says it is OK:

Gently wipe away any ear drainage on the outside of the ear. You may get eardrops the first week. Do not put anything else into the ear.

If you have stitches behind the ear and they get wet, gently dry the area. Do not rub.

You or your child may feel pulsing, or hear popping, clicking, or other sounds in the ear. The ear may feel full or as if it is filled with liquid. There may be sharp, shooting pains off and on soon after the surgery.

To avoid catching a cold, stay away from crowded places and people with cold symptoms.

Outlook (Prognosis)

In most cases, the pain and symptoms are completely relieved. Hearing loss is minor.

The outcome may not be as good if the bones in the middle ear need to be reconstructed, along with the eardrum.


Review Date: 5/17/2018
Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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