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.
Most patients (and all children) receive general anesthesia. This means they are asleep and pain-free.
The surgeon will make a cut behind the ear or inside the ear canal.
Depending on what needs to be done, the surgeon will:
The surgeon will use an operating microscope to view and repair the eardrum or the small bones.
The eardrum (tympanic membrane) is between the outer ear and the middle ear. The eardrum 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 fairly small hole, myringoplasty may work to close it. Most of the time, your doctor will wait at least 6 weeks after the eardrum developed a hole 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 for any surgery are:
Other risks include:
Always tell the doctor or nurse:
On the day of the surgery (for children):
On the day of the surgery (for adults):
Patients usually leave the hospital the same day as the surgery.
Until your doctor or nurse says it is okay:
Gently wipe away any ear drainage on the outside of the ear. You may get ear drops the first week. Do not put anything else into the ear.
There are sometimes stitches behind the ear. If they become 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. You may notice 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.
In most cases, the procedure 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 to be reconstructed, along with the eardrum.
Myringoplasty; Tympanoplasty; Ossiculoplasty; Ossicular reconstruction; Tympanosclerosis - surgery; Ossicular discontinuity - surgery; Ossicular fixation - surgery
Fayad JN, Sheehy JL. Outer surface grafting technique. In: Brackmann D, Shelton C, Arriaga MA, eds. Otologic Surgery. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2009:chap 9.
Adams ME, El-Kashlan HK. Tympanoplasty and ossiculoplasty. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010: chap 141.
Updated by: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc. Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine.
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