Tympanoplasty (Middle Ear Repair)

Pronounced: tim-PAN-oh-plas-tee

En Espaol (Spanish Version)

Definition

Tympanoplasty is a microsurgical procedure on the eardrum and middle ear bones to restore the middle ear hearing mechanism.

The Middle Ear

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2008 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Types of tympanoplasty include:

  • Myringoplastyrepair of a tear in the eardrum
  • Tympanoplasty with ossiculoplastyrepair of a tear in the eardrum and correction of a defect in the bones (ossicles) of the middle ear
  • Tympanoplasty with mastoidectomyrepair of a tear in the eardrum and eradication of bony infection in the area behind the ear

Parts of the Body Involved

Ear

Reasons for Procedure

Tympanoplasty is usually done to repair a tear in the eardrum and the ossicles of the middle ear. The procedure can also help to:

  • Restore hearing and treat certain types of deafness
  • Prevent infection of the middle ear

This factsheet will focus on the repair of eardrum tears.

Risk Factors for Complications During the Procedure

  • Large tears
  • Failure to restore hearing
  • Chronic middle ear disease that may require mastoidectomy to be performed at the same time

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Before surgery, your doctor will check to be sure that you do not have an ear infection.

You will have several testes including an ear exam and a hearing test. At times a CT scan is done to check for any ear infections

During ProcedureYou will be given anesthesia. AnesthesiaThe procedure typically only requires local anesthesia. Description of the ProcedureA small incision is made behind the ear to reach tissue from the temporalis muscle fascia. This tissue is grafted to the eardrum to cover the hole. Other materials may be added to hold the graft in place. If the bones of the middle ear need to be repaired, this is done as well.A small pack may be left in position in the ear canal, and removed a few days after surgery. Stitches will be left behind the ear for a week, and then removed. How Long Will It Take?1-2 hours (sometimes longer if mastoidectomy or ossicular reconstruction needs to be done) Will It Hurt?Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. Possible Complications The risks associated with tympanoplasty are fairly rare, and include: Infection that develops and spreads to inner ear, causing hearing loss and dizzinessInfection that develops and spreads beyond the ear causing serious symptoms (rare) Damage to structures in or near the middle ear: Nervesloss or distortion of taste, paralysis of the faceMiddle ear bonesloss of hearing that may require further surgery Average Hospital StayTympanoplasty is usually done on an outpatient basis. However, if your surgery includes bone repair (ossiculoplasty), you may stay overnight in the hospital.
Postoperative Care To insure proper healing, avoid the following: Blowing your nose hard.Sneezing.Exposing your ear to water. Ask your doctor how to wash your hair and shower for the first few weeks after surgery.FlyingHeavy weight lifting and strainingWorking out OutcomeIt will take several weeks after surgery to determine if the tympanoplasty was a success. Complete recovery takes about four weeks. Call Your Doctor If Any of the Following OccursRedness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge at the incision siteIncreasing fluid draining from the earOdor from fluid draining from the earDizzinessSigns of infection, including fever and chills RESOURCES: American Academy of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery, Inc.http://www.entnet.org National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, NIHhttp://www.nidcd.nih.gov CANADIAN RESOURCES: Canadian Society of Otolaryngologyhttp://www.entcanada.org/default.asp Health Canadahttp://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index_e.html References: American Academy of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery, Inc. website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org . Last reviewed March 2008 by Elie Rebeiz, MD, FACSPlease be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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