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Tympanoplasty Eardrum Repair

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

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:

Clean out any infection or dead tissue on the eardrum or in the middle ear.

Patch the eardrum with a piece of the patient's own tissue taken from a vein or muscle sheath (called tympanoplasty). This procedure will usually take 2 - 3 hours.

Remove, replace, or repair one or more of the three little bones in the middle ear (called ossuculoplasty)

Repair smaller holes in the eardrum by placing either gel or a special paper over the eardrum (called myringoplasty). This procedure will usually take 10 - 30 minutes.

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

Why the Procedure is Performed

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:

A bad ear infection

Sticking something inside the ear canal

Surgery to place ear tubes

Trauma

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:

The eardrum has a larger hole or opening

There is a chronic infection in the ear, and antibiotics do not help

There is a build-up of extra tissue around or behind the eardrum

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.

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