What is a myringoplasty?

A myringoplasty is an operation to repair a hole in your eardrum.

A perforation is usually caused by an infection in your middle ear that bursts through your eardrum (see figure 1).

It can also be caused by trauma (for example, being hit across your ear).

A perforated eardrum can lead to repeated ear infections and poorer hearing.

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should have less risk of repeated ear infections and your hearing may improve.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Keeping your ear dry by placing cotton wool and Vaseline in your ear when bathing or washing your hair may prevent infection.

An infection can be treated with antibiotics and a trained healthcare practitioner can clean your ear. A hearing aid can improve poor hearing.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but a local anaesthetic can be used. The operation usually takes an hour to 90 minutes.

Your surgeon will need to use a graft (piece of tissue) to cover the hole.

Your surgeon will place the graft through a cut made either in front of or behind your ear, or inside your ear canal. They will lift your eardrum and place the graft underneath it and support it with a dissolving sponge. They will put your eardrum back.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Blood clots

2 Specific complications

  • Failure of the graft
  • Numbness of your ear
  • Loss of hearing
  • Tinnitus
  • Change of taste
  • Allergic reaction

How soon will I recover?

You may be able to go home the same day. If a head bandage has been used, it will be removed the next morning and you should be able to go home that day.

Your surgeon will tell you when you can return to normal activities. You should be able to return to work after about two weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

You will need to come back after two to three weeks to have the pack removed and to check the graft.

Summary

A perforated eardrum is a common problem. A myringoplasty can prevent infections and sometimes improve your hearing.

Acknowledgements

Author: Miss Ruth Capper MD FRCS (ORL-HNS)

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com

 

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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