Myringoplasty for perforated eardrum

Myringoplasty is a surgical ENT procedure to repair a perforation (hole or tear) in your eardrum. It's usually caused by an infection in your middle ear, but can also be the result of trauma.

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I have a question about a perforated eardrum and myringoplasty

What is a perforated eardrum?

A perforated eardrum (also known as a tympanic membrane perforation or burst eardrum) is a tear in the eardrum or tympanic membrane; the thin tissue that separates your ear canal from your middle ear. It’s a relatively common condition that usually heals on its own.

However, in some cases, a burst eardrum can lead to pain, middle ear infections, tinnitus and hearing loss.

What are the causes of a perforated eardrum?

A perforated eardrum may be caused by a middle ear infection bursting through the eardrum, or by a trauma (such as a head injury or an object poked in the ear), or by a sudden loud noise (such as an explosion), or by changes in  pressure (while diving or flying, for example).

What are common perforated eardrum symptoms?

A perforated eardrum can cause a variety of symptoms which will vary in their severity depending on the size of the hole or tear.

The main perforated eardrum symptom is hearing loss. The degree of hearing loss will depend on the size of the perforation but hearing normally returns when the perforation has healed successfully.

Other burst eardrum symptoms may be experienced, particularly if the perforation is caused by a middle ear infection. These symptoms may include pain or discomfort within the ear, a discharge of fluid or pus from the affected ear, tinnitus (a buzzing or ringing sound in your ear) and a raised body temperature.

If the perforation doesn’t heal, it may be repaired by undergoing myringoplasty or tympanoplasty.

How is a perforated eardrum diagnosed?

Your GP will assess your condition by a visual examination using a medical device (otoscope or auriscope) to look into your ears. They can refer you to one of our experienced ENT Consultants for perforated eardrum treatment.

What is the treatment for a perforated eardrum?

Most perforated eardrums will heal by themselves in a few weeks without treatment, antibiotics may be required if there is an infection and, in some cases, you may need a myringoplasty - which is surgery to repair the damaged ear drum.

A myringoplasty is performed by taking a graft from the soft tissue of your ear and using this to patch the hole and repair the perforation.

Why would I have a myringoplasty operation?

Myringoplasty is performed for three main reasons:

  • It 'waterproofs' the ear allowing you to get it wet when bathing and swimming
  • It protects the middle ear and prevents recurrent ear infections
  • It improves the conductive mechanism of the ear and, as a result, can improve your hearing

What happens during a myringoplasty procedure?

Myringoplasty is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic, which means you’ll be asleep during the procedure.

During the eardrum operation your Consultant will be using very small, precision instruments while looking at the area through a microscope.

The surgery involves taking a small tissue graft from your ear or from under the skin near your ear, which is used to close the hole in your eardrum. The graft is inserted through the ear canal or through a cut made behind your ear.  A myringoplasty operation is also known as a type 1 tympanoplasty.

Your eardrum will be lifted and the graft placed underneath it, with some dissolving material placed in the middle ear to hold the graft in place while it heals. A pack will be placed in the ear canal, which will remain there for two weeks to protect and support the graft while the ear heals. This pack will be removed in clinic after two weeks.

What should I expect after myringoplasty?

If you've had a general anaesthetic, you won't be able to drive for 24 hours after your surgery. There may be some pain after the anaesthetic wears off, but we'll give you some painkillers to relieve the discomfort. Before you go home, we'll discuss all aftercare requirements and follow-up appointments with you.

You'll need a week off work after your operation and will need to keep your ear dry while it's healing.

How much does myringoplasty cost?

The cost of myringoplasty is listed in the ENT section of our treatment prices page. To book an appointment, complete our online booking form or call our Private Patient team on 01580 363158.

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