A myringotomy is used to relieve the symptoms caused by any one of a number of different conditions. Symptoms may include hearing loss, pain, pressure in the ear and impaired balance.
During a myringotomy, a tiny incision is made in the eardrum to allow direct access to the middle ear space. At this point the middle ear can be drained of any fluid or pus to relieve pressure. If required, this fluid can be sent for analysis to diagnose the cause of any infection.
Sometimes, tiny ear ventilation tubes (or grommets) can be placed in the incision. These tubes remain in position after the operation to allow fluid to continue to drain out of the ear more easily, and to allow antibiotic drops to be placed directly into the middle ear space which makes their application more effective.
Surgery will normally be carried out under a local anaesthetic. During the operation the surgeon will be using very small, precision instruments while looking at the area through a microscope.
Depending on the exact nature of the condition, slightly different operations may be required.
If you’ve had a general anaesthetic, you won’t be able to drive for 24 hours after surgery. There may be some pain after the anaesthetic wears off and we’ll help relieve this with painkillers. Before you go home we’ll discuss any aftercare requirements or follow-up appointments with you.
If you’ve had ear tubes (grommets) inserted, they normally work their way out of your eardrum naturally after six weeks to 18 months.
As with any operation there are some potential risks to consider. These are rare, but could include:
- an infection, which may cause pain, bleeding or discharge
- ringing or buzzing in your ear (tinnitus)
- paralysis of part of the face
- changes in your sense of taste
- hearing loss
We’ll discuss any potential risks with you before surgery.
Depending on the exact nature of the condition, we’ll discuss the different treatment options with you.