Eardrum repair is a procedure to correct a tear in the eardrum (tympanic membrane) or the small bones in the middle ear.
Using general anesthesia, an ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist grafts a small patch from a vein or fascia (muscle sheath) onto the eardrum to repair the tear.
For problems with the small bones (ossicles), the surgeon will use an operating microscope to view and repair this chain of small bones using plastic devices or ossicles from a donor.
Why the Procedure is Performed
If antibiotics or other non-operative treatments do not heal chronic ear infections, surgical eardrum repair may be necessary.
Chronic middle ear infections are described as:
- Seven or more ear infections in a year
- Five or more ear infections a year for 2 years
Signs of chronic ear infections include persistent ear pain, ear drainage, or hearing loss (over a 3-month period).
Patients usually leave the hospital the same day as the surgery. It is important to avoid water in the ear. Your health care provider may recommend the use of a hair cap when showering for a few weeks after the procedure.
In most cases, the operation relieves pain and infection symptoms completely. Hearing loss is minor. The outcome may not be as good if the bones in the middle ear need reconstruction along with the eardrum.
Risks for any anesthesia are:
- Reactions to medications
- Problems breathing
Risks for any surgery are:
Additional risks include:
- Incomplete healing of the hole in the eardrum
- Damage to the small bones in the middle ear, causing hearing loss
- Need for further surgery
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