Tympanoplasty

Eardrum perforation may result from chronic infection or, less commonly, from trauma to the eardrum. Tympanoplasty is the surgical operation performed for the reconstruction of the eardrum (tympanic membrane), or the small bones of the middle ear. Tympanic membrane grafting may be required. If needed, grafts are usually taken from temporalis fascia (muscle sheath) tissue behind the ear or perichondrium from the ear tragus. Synthetic materials may be used if patients have had previous surgeries and have limited graft availability. A variety of ossicular prostheses are available and sometimes used for ossicle reconstruction and hearing restoration.

Tympanoplasty is done on an outpatient basis and is successful 85-90% of the time. The procedure usually takes about one hour and is performed under general anesthesia. Generally, the patient can return home within one hour after surgery. A mild pain reliever and antibiotic drops are given postoperatively. After one week, the packing is removed and sutures behind the ear are removed. Water is kept away from the ear, and nose blowing is discouraged. Most patients can return to work within one week, unless heavy physical labor is necessary. After one month, all residual packing is completely removed under the operating microscope. It is then determined whether or not the graft has fully taken. A hearing test is performed three months following the procedure.