Chronic ear infections and some types of injuries can create a hole in your eardrum. Having a hole in your eardrum can cause hearing loss, an ear infection with drainage and limitation of water-related activities. You may need a Tympanoplasty to repair the hole in your eardrum to improve hearing and to stop ear infections.
Under general anesthesia, an incision is made behind your ear so that the eardrum can be reached. The hole in your eardrum will be repaired with a graft. The surgeon will then close the incision site behind your ear and apply tape or steri strips over the sutures. A hard cup will be placed over your ear for protection after surgery. This can be removed a few days following surgery
A Tympanoplasty is usually done in about one-and-a-half to three hours so most patients will get to go home on the day of surgery. You will have a hard cover over your ear to protect it after surgery. This can be removed a few days following surgery. You will have sutures covered by sterile strips or tape which you will need to leave on. A nurse from the office will remove the tape and the stitches for you when you come in for your two-week follow-up appointment with your surgeon. You will also have packing in your ear, which will also be removed in the clinic at your four-week follow-up appointment.
You will need to avoid getting your ear wet following after surgery. When you do take a shower, you will need to protect your ear with a cotton ball with a small amount of petroleum jelly on it. Call your ENT surgeon if you have a fever of 101° F or greater, any uncontrolled pain, or any dizziness that lasts more than a few days. Also, call if you are having nausea and or vomiting. Before doing any traveling at high altitudes, swimming, scuba diving, or playing contact sports, please call and clear this with your surgeon.
Some of the possible risks and complications of a Tympanoplasty are an infection, the graft not holding and exposing the hole in the eardrum, further hearing loss, ringing in the ears, dizziness or facial nerve damage or numbness in the outer ear. Also, you may experience dry mouth or notice a change in your sense of taste.
If surgery is not right for you, your ENT Surgeon may talk to you about possible medications to control your symptoms, or a hearing aid to help improve your hearing.