What is Eardrum Repair?
Eardrum repair is a surgical procedure performed to treat ruptured eardrums. Ruptures are holes in the eardrum, or tympanic membrane, that may occur due to ear infections or injury. Often, a ruptured eardrum may heal on its own. However, if it does not, the hole may increase in size. To avoid complications such as hearing loss, surgery is required to repair the hole.
There are two types of eardrum repair surgeries: myringoplasty and tympanoplasty. Both procedures use a graft to cover the hole, or perforation. Grafts may be composed of tissue taken from the body, such as skin, or they may be paper or gel-like materials. The difference between the procedures is that during a myringoplasty, surgery is limited to the eardrum. Myringoplasty is typically performed for smaller perforations and for conditions in which only the eardrum is affected.
In contrast, tympanoplasty is used for larger perforations. It may also target other areas of the ear to treat infection, remove cysts, or address other issues. Common types of tympanoplasty include:
- Tympanoossiculoplasty, which combines tympanoplasty with ossicular chain reconstruction (ossiculoplasty). The ossicular chain in the middle ear is composed of three bones, called ossicles or middle ear bones, which are responsible for transmitting sound to the inner ear. Ossiculoplasty repairs damaged ossicles to treat or prevent hearing loss.
- Tympanomastoidectomy, which combines tympanoplasty and mastoidectomy. A mastoidectomy removes the bone behind the ear (mastoid), to treat damage or infection.
Depending on the type of eardrum repair, surgery can last for a half hour (myringoplasty) or for several hours (tympanoplasty). Your surgeon will make an incision to access the eardrum. Infected tissue and broken bones will be removed, and a graft will be placed to seal the perforation. The ear will heal over four to six weeks. You may return home the same day following surgery.